editor of Popular Mechanics.
Improbably, alternative-transportation-obsessed Ann Arbor is already a hotbed of car magazines: the late David E. Davis, Jr. moved Car and Driver from Manhattan in 1978, then launched Automobile here after breaking with C/D's then-owners. But Road & Track has been based in Southern California for fifty years. Why move it now? "When Hearst bought these titles [Road & Track, Car and Driver, and Popular Mechanics], they sort of liked the idea of concentrating their business operations in certain areas," Webster says in a phone interview. "Detroit makes a lot of sense, right? Because we kind of call it 'America's Stuttgart.' This is sort of the home of the automotive industry--we want to be near that."
Former C/D editor Csaba Csere suspects financial pressure is also at work. "I think Road & Track hasn't been making any money," he says. "Period. All of the car magazines, from what I gather, are making substantially less money than they did in the good old days." And compared to California, Michigan "is a cheaper place to do business."