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Consumer Reports names 'car content' chief

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(Crain News Service photo)
Mark Rechtin

YONKERS, N.Y. (July 11, 2014) — Consumer Reports magazine has hired award-winning writer and editor Mark Rechtin as its new Cars Content Development Team Leader.

In his new role, Mr. Rechtin will lead the development and implementation of content strategy for automotive coverage for Consumer Reports’ (CR) portfolio of digital and print products and services, the organization said. He will oversee a team of editors, writers and market analysts working together with engineers, statistical experts and technicians at CR’s Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Conn.

Mr. Rechtin comes to CR from Tire Business’ Detroit-based sister publication, Automotive News, where he was the West Coast Editor and Los Angeles Bureau Chief for the past two decades.

CR said its automotive ratings and reliability surveys “have for decades been core content areas” for the publication, and the organization “has long been known for its annual Top Picks list of vehicles and vehicle reliability assessments.”

The organization’s flagship properties include Consumer Reports magazine, which has a circulation of more than 4 million;, which CR calls the world’s largest subscription-based website with 3.2 million subscribers; and numerous digital and interactive products and services, newsletters and special publication products.

Mr. Recthin has won many prestigious journalism awards, including the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for his 2013 body of work, multiple awards from the American Society of Business Press Editors, and several Detroit Press Club awards including one on sales fraud at Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

He recently won a first-place prize in the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards, a journalism contest that recognizes the nation's finest business-to-business media.

He also was a bureau chief and project manager for Automotive News’ European editions in London and Munich, where he created a business plan to turn the publication’s print-centric operation digital.

Mr. Rechtin will report to Diane Salvatore, CR’s senior director, content strategy and development.

“Mark is a skilled journalist and storyteller in digital, print and on video,” Ms. Salvatore said. “He has an excellent sense of what consumers deserve to know about cars they will buy and own.”

Mr. Rechtin said he is “delighted to be joining the talented team at Consumer Reports. I was drawn by the integrity of the brand, the fact that the organization takes no external advertising, and the deep level of expertise from the staff at the Auto Test Center.”

Also joining the cars content team as senior associate editor is George Kennedy, who has been the managing editor of and a contributor to the Boston Globe and Previously, he was associate editor at Autoblog.

Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has more than 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

The magazine claims its testing procedures “are the most comprehensive of any U.S. publication or website. More than 50 individual tests are performed on every vehicle—including evaluations of braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety and fuel economy.

“Roughly 6,000 miles of general driving and evaluations are racked up on each test car during the testing process. CR buys all its test cars anonymously from dealers. Other reviewers base their evaluations on press cars that are hand-picked by the auto makers.”

The nonprofit organization has more than 50 labs and a survey research center in addition to its auto test center that produce ratings on thousands of products and services annually.

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