BEST MOTORING CANCELLED: The end of an institution

April 28, 2011 12:44 pm Published by

The Best Motoring video magazine series has apparently been cancelled after this month’s issue.

This press release was published on the Best Motoring website;

永年のご愛読、本当にありがとうございました。
平素は「ベストモータリング」をご愛読いただき、誠にありがとうございます。

さて、「ベストモータリング」は1987年の創刊以来、
24年にわたりクルマ好き読者の皆様にご愛顧を賜ってまいりましたが、

諸般の事情により、2011年6月号(2011年4月26日発売)をもちまして
休刊とさせていただくことになりました。

読者の皆様には誠に申し訳なく存じますが、
事情をご賢察の上、ご理解賜りますようお願い申し上げます。

また、「ホットバージョン」におきましても
2011年4月8日発売のVol.110をもちまして
休刊とさせていただきます。

読者の皆様には、これまでの永年にわたりますご支援に、
あらためまして厚く御礼申し上げます。

Which translates roughly as:

To our many regular customers over so many years, we thank you sincerely.

It now seems, after 24 years of patronage from our viewers since being launched in 1984, we have been cancelled.

For various reasons, the June 2011 issue (on sale 26th of April) will be the last one published.

To all our readers, we apologise from the bottom of our heart and beg your understanding.

Also, we apologise for the Vol. 110 issue released on the 8th of April, which was forced to be removed from publication.

To all our readers, once again let me give you a hearfelt thank you for all your support.

The Vol. 110 removal mentioned was a result of the arrest of J’s Racing’s boss, Junichi Umemoto, for an alleged hit and run accident, as he was featured on a Honda tuning segment.

The Best Motoring brand is owned by Kodansha, which is the largest publishing company in Japan, so the decision mustn’t have been made lightly. The reason for cancellation is obviously a declining viewership, so what should we take from this?

Best Motoring and its tuning brother Hot Version have kept a fairly similar style over the years, but the cars featured in them have changed fairly dramatically. They’ve always stayed on the cutting edge of news and features, but I guess the car market has made it a bit harder for them in the recent times of the popularity of EV and whatnot.

Perhaps the expense of buying a regular DVD publication isn’t something that most customers can’t justify any more? Or is it that it’s just plain difficult to get people excited about cars that they’ve seen before a hundred times? Are people going to buy a whole new DVD just to see a group of cars shave another tenth off their best time at a circuit?

Top Gear has shown that it’s possible to create a car show that appeals to an extremely broad audience, but would that sort of format work here in Japan? I don’t really thinks so. While we all laugh at the silly capers that Jeremy, Hamster and Cpt. Slow get up to, the reactions I’ve seen here were more along the lines of “eh, they’re being a bit childish”.

Twenty-four years is a pretty good run for any sort of publication, but that run length just makes it even sadder to see it go. After working part time on Hot Version shoots, I got to know quite a few of the staff, a couple of which are former endurance racers, and one even used to race Formula 3 (I think) in Europe.

One of the photographers there has a collection of credential lanyards from all over the world, which would be heavier to wear than Mr T’s gold necklace. Most of them are also just plain car nuts, and I’ll occasionally run into them at random shows, just because they love cars.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this. Car fans are becoming younger as the generation that made Japanese car tuning famous worldwide move into middle age, but I have no doubt that there’s still just as many kids out there with a thirst for speed and loud noises. They just need to be shown.

EDIT: I’ve found out a bit more today about what’s going on. 2&4 Motoring, the production company of Best Motoring and Hot Version is basically a child company of Kodansha, so it has been dissolved along with the DVD titles. The brands will still belong to Kodansha, so those titles are unfortunately effectively cancelled.

However, the production guys have a good working relationship with Keiichi Tsuchiya, who has a lot of ideas about creating new video content, not least of which is his Drift Muscle series! The a group of the same guys who made Best Motoring and Hot Version will now be working with Tsuchiya and creating video coverage the new Drift Muscle events! There’s some light at the end of the tunnel after all.

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This post was written by Alexi

40 Comments

  • louis says:

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  • Justin says:

    It’s sad to see Best Motoring cancelled. I loved to watch whichever ones I could’ve gotten my hands on.

  • Tony says:

    *sad*
    There is nothing else to say.

  • Raymund Aguilar says:

    It is so sad that an “institute” such as Best Motoring would cease to exist after 24 years. To be in business for that long speaks volumes (no pun intended) of the Japanese people’s (and by extension, everyone on the planet) love of JDM tuned cars. I just hope that Best Motoring would live on in another capacity…

  • Nubinz says:

    I am epicly sad to see this go. its almost unfair, top gear may be fun but if you wanted hardcore test and factual driver imput, its all ways been best motoring/hot version. i consider this a big loss to japanese car culture.

  • Adam says:

    This truly is painful to hear. BM has been the table stone for all car enthusiasts a like. There has been no finer group of individuals out there to produce such high quality material, showcasing the best Japanese tuners have to offer.

  • BlueSlug says:

    Surely they could explore options like online content delivery, or a youtube partnership or something? Distribution costs are virtually nil, *and* there are ad revenues to be had! Cancellation seems rather defeatist, in my opinion.

    This is a sad day, indeed.

  • orion says:

    I think the DVD is outdated (time to get it shipped+price). If best motoring had been legally downloadable on itunes, perhaps they could have maintain a paying audience.

  • James Colin says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • 6330 says:

    This sucks.

  • Freq says:

    I hadn’t cared much about “traditional media’s” downfall until now. :\ Now I have to reevaluate how I feel about it.

  • I may have been avoidable if they changed with the times and transitioned to an online video magazine format. I hate to see them go.

  • Mqss says:

    Not good at all.

  • Sciclone says:

    I’ve always liked the Hot Version’s and watched a few of the BM’s as well. I think Alexi’s comment about people justifying spending the money every month to see nearly the same cars is quite apt, as I’ve seen some of their 6 car races use the same 370Z and stuff with maybe a single different car.

    At the end of the day, they only have a finite audience. There is only about 120 million Japanese speakers, and only a small portion of these would be in to cars. They tried to branch out to English speakers with the BMI DVD’s, but these were few and far between, and some were quite dry and boring.

    Still sad to see HV go.

  • Nathan says:

    What?! Who’s going to care about NSXs now?!

  • sergiogon says:

    Really sad news… I just ordered April and June DVD, lets see when I get it…
    Alexi hows that other show called that features Takashi Ohi ? Rev sthg I think… do they still publish it?

  • AaronLeang says:

    NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    WHERE CAN I NOW GET CLEAR/PROPER CAR REVIEWS?
    WHERE CAN I WATCH SICK COMPARO RACES?
    WHERE CAN I SEE GAN-SAN?

  • KyShro says:

    NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :( :( :( :(

  • Leon Bosman says:

    This is not good news at all. Best motoring has become a religion amoungst JDM car nuts. Its all because of best motoring that i came to understand the actual spirit and soul behind tuning a car and japanese tuning in general. i hope that the best motoring team can come back in some way or form , maybe they should start top gear Japan ?? we can loose such a great bunch of guys. JDM culture is growing more and more everyday and is pretty much the most popular way to tune at the moment thanks to movies like Fast and Furious etc. this is truely a sad day in automotive media … i use to love seing the touge showdowns and the Tsukuba battle’s , how are we going to see all that now ? here in South Africa the only way we get to see it is from best motoring … Long live JDM !!!

  • Leon Bosman says:

    This is not good news at all. Best motoring has become a religion amoungst JDM car nuts. Its all because of best motoring that i came to understand the actual spirit and soul behind tuning a car and japanese tuning in general. i hope that the best motoring team can come back in some way or form , maybe they should start top gear Japan ?? we can’t loose such a great bunch of guys. JDM culture is growing more and more everyday and is pretty much the most popular way to tune at the moment thanks to movies like Fast and Furious etc. this is truely a sad day in automotive media … i use to love seing the touge showdowns and the Tsukuba battle’s , how are we going to see all that now ? here in South Africa the only way we get to see it is from best motoring … Long live JDM !!!

    • Sciclone says:

      Not to be flaming you, but Fast and Furious is in no way linked to the Japanese tuning scene. Even “Tokyo Drift”, although there are quite a few scenes shot in Tokyo, was bollocks. Ever wondered why the carpark scenes have LHD Hondas and such, and how the clothing styles look the same as the asians in the first movie? I’d wager that very little time was actually spent absorbing Japanese car culture or culture at large.

      (I still stayed up to watch it though….)

  • James says:

    It’s sad but predictable, Japan’s car industry as a whole is going through a transitional period, and struggling too. Many of the manufacturers have scaled-back their production of sportier vehicles in response to global demand for eco-friendly cars. There was a recent interview with Daijiro Inada in the UK’s Banzai magazine. In it he was lamenting the state of Japans motor industry and thought that people interested in performance cars and tuning would ever-more be turning towards older cars, rather than embracing the new wave of vehicles. If the cars aren’t being produced then I have to disagree with Alexi, the interest will tail-off. If we look at the sports models Honda produced in the 80s and 90s; Civic and Integra Type R, Prelude, CRX, S2000, NSX compared to what we have now…..none of those.

    As a side note, I’m really surprised that Japan doesn’t respond well to Top Gear, considering the often silly nature of Hot Version (particularly the earlier ones). Maybe BM should be offered to a TV channel instead, rather than as a private publication. Or as others have mentioned, go online.

  • Xa says:

    so what happens to “the drift muscle”? do they get their own video series now or are they gonna do something else with it (digital media or the like)?

  • tobias says:

    This is very sad.
    Best Motoring was in my life the past 10 years and I was still looking forward to any new issue that was launched.
    I actually started to understand a bit what they were talking about.

    Will miss this big time.

    I just hope they get something similar going with a new brand and maybe do more english subtitles what might open a bigger market for them too.

  • steffan says:

    Interesting move. A thought for their future efforts. Release the dvd’s in a universal region format so people outside of japan can actually watch them on our tv’s at home. Then maybe they will sell more dvd’s.

  • Wolf says:

    Wow. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend! :-(
    I too am very sad to see this happen, but am not surprised either..
    Just the other day, I was showing a budding enthusiast the “Fuji Fast” DVD and commenting on the “Angry As” sounds of the KPGC in torment… Oh well, at least I was able to get them before they went out.

    Thanks for the info Alexi, as always awesome work.

  • Komeko says:

    So it went from _little_ hope of seeing the 80′s and 90′s VHS programs re released on DVD, to _no_ chance of seeing the 80′s and 90′s VHS programs re released on DVD.

    Next question is if Kodansha will bother to devote any time or money to policing Youtube for people posting the 80′s and 90′s shows, because finding a cassette copy from 20 to 30 years ago is just about impossible. Sad, because that was when things got really interesting. Engine and suspension design had jumped to multi port fuel injection, turbos, variable valve timing, and four wheel steering. and before cars got so tall, fat looking, and heavy…

  • Donnie says:

    Sucks that they shut down enjoyed every episode I have seen.

  • discoquinn says:

    The most frustrating aspect of the closer of these titles was the difficulty to buy them outside of Japan. I can’t use any other word than frustration as I don’t understand how the staff could not see the draw for sales in other countries. The english market for these videos is far greater than that of the Japanese market, and had they even provided a consistent flow of sub and/or dub versions, the brands would’ve been justified well beyond their local market. The whole world has been watching what was could be considered something almost as a private as closed circuit television. Rest in Peace raw oblivious focus and dedication.

  • kwong chi shing says:

    OMG.OMG….WHY ……..WHY………..

  • Nigel says:

    This just makes me sad, I really like watching Best Motoring (any episode).
    I have few on VHS and one on VCD. These were always great to watch in the middle of winter when no new racing was on TV. (I live in Canada).

    BMI will be missed (a lot).

  • Fury-S12 says:

    that sucks big time big loss for the industry especially in japan

    will be intersting to see what the bm and hv teams can do with keiichi though

  • Jack Bauer says:

    What the?! DAMN IT!

  • Donnie says:

    lol who needs subtitles. lol I have watched many and own tons of option vids etc with no subtitles… you kinda just get it and its a good tool if you wanna learn some Japanese.

  • Brian says:

    One day, it will ressurect…

  • ELI says:

    I cant believe this……is this for real? :( I have enjoyed BMI & HOT VERSION for as long as I can remember. I am very sad to hear this. I have been collecting the VHS & DVD series for over 10 years, I will miss the series very much ! ! !

  • JiSiN says:

    OMG That’s some extremely bad news for me that there wont be any Best Motoring any more!

    i got over 100DVD’s but i never thought they would stop.
    so i better get all those that i don’t have yet.

    Nihon….why are you doing this?
    it was a import part of JDM scene!

  • johan says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    I have watched BM since 2003 when I was 13… this is so sad!

    I guess the japanese youth has shrunk alot since BM started, but still they could probably earn some more money buy putting it up on youtube for the international audience.

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