Is John Cadogan an Idiot?


Hi John -  I enjoy your show on Radio 2UE but I've got to say - you're an idiot! You bag the crap out of Aussie-built cars and tonight you're saying how the Holden Cruze had the biggest complaints and it's an Aussie car. 

Mate they've only been built here in Australia, from all imported parts, for maybe the last 18 months to 2 years. They were all previously Korean built. The same as the Captiva, the Barina, the new Malibu heap of shit. 

The Aussie products like the Commodore, the Falcon and the Toyota Camry are all great cars. 

I've worked out the problem with you  - unless the car has a Hyundai badge on it, you don't like it. I know you have a commercial advertising agreement with Hyundai but Jesus you've become way too biased to them. Anyway I'm going to bed before you irritate me any further. Good night, Ken


One of the cruellest ironies, and salient features, of the information age is that it gives uninformed opinion such an awesome delivery platform...

Especially if you're wearing your condom-shaped hat.

The best part about being called an idiot by a listener is that you know the feedback is sincere and honest. So, thanks for your candour. I won't comment on what I think of you in this response, but I will specifically address the points you raised.

You claim the Cruze has been built here for between 18 months and two years. In fact the local manufacturing of Cruze in Elizabeth began in March 2011 - that's 31 months ago. This is common knowledge, and I have never claimed otherwise. Referring to the Cruze on air as 'locally built' is completely accurate, because it is built here. Being built here hasn't helped its build quality. It was a dog of a car when imported from South Korea; it's a dog of a car built in Australia - at least compared with competitors.

You claim that the Cruze is built from "all imported parts". In fact, the locally manufactured content of the Cruze's components is between 40 and 50 per cent. Local suppliers of Cruze components include: Hirotec, Futuris, Tenneco and Venture Industries. In total, about 30 local component suppliers provide components for the Cruze. 

The above points are easily verifiable by anyone with an internet connection and an IQ greater than the room temperature in degrees C. So you just might be able to verify this in a few minutes online if my word does not suffice.

You claim 'Aussie' products like the Commodore, Falcon and Toyota Camry are great cars. Two points there: One - the Commodore and the Falcon are two of the least reliable cars in the country, as independently verified by ACNeilsen research. The Camry is a very well built (albeit boring) car. GM and Ford build lousy cars in comparison to the Japanese and South Koreans. Two - I cannot in good conscience recommend a Commodore or a Falcon to anyone. Let's leave quality and even taxpayer support issues to one side. The commercial proposition alone is enough to decline to recommend either. They depreciate like stuck pigs, in relative terms, and they are w-a-y too expensive both to run and buy. Most families don't need a huge Commodore or a Falcon - they could buy a Mazda3, Mazda6, Corolla, Camry, Honda Accord Euro, Hyundai i40 or Kia Optima, which would be a) cheaper, b) better equipped, and c) more reliable.

You claim that I am Hyundai biased. The fact is, I call it as I see it. I don't have a commercial relationship with Hyundai. The fact is, Hyundai is an advertiser on Radio 2UE. Because it is a better car, I have recommended the Kia Optima over the Hyundai i45 on air many times, likewise the Sportage over the Hyundai ix35 (also many times). Hyundai probably hates this, because although Hyundai-Kia is the same company back in South Korea, the brands compete fiercely here in Australia. To their credit, Hyundai has never contacted me to try to change my opinion, nor to my knowledge have they ever tried to exert commercial pressure on 2UE management to shut me up or change my tune. The fact is, the Hyundai i30 is a great car, and I always put it on my 'top three' shortlist alongside the Mazda3 and Corolla when a caller enquires about a small car. I always recommend the Santa Fe because it's such a compelling entrant in that large SUV market, and also the diesel i40 (but I'm always careful to advise listeners that the petrol is pretty gutless, which I'm sure is something Hyundai would agree with in private but prefer I didn't say publicly - along with my other non-Hyundai preferences noted above).

If the Commodore and Falcon are so great, as you claim, I wonder why their sales have flatlined? That would be exhibit C here, in the case of why local car manufacturing is failing here in Australia. The localll made stuff has stood still for a decade, while the rest of the world moved forward. It's that simple.

In closing, Ken, I'd repudiate your claim that I'm an idiot (at least, a propos of cars). I'd advise you to consider the facts carefully before having a shot at anyone who knows what they're talking about, because otherwise the possibility of shooting yourself in the foot with an 'idiot' allegation is high. I think you've done so in this case, being fundamentally wrong on every point you have raised.

Basically, when I step into the 2UE studio and take calls from listeners, my primary and only consideration is to give them the best advice I can. I view this as a serious responsibility. Nothing else matters. If a car company doesn't like what I say, then they need to cop it on the chin - advertiser or not. In recommending Hyundais and Kias to listeners, I carefully select only the products I think are rock-solid and I furthermore consider important consumer considerations like the unbeatable warranty the South Koreans offer, as well as the value and (recently improved) quality proposition. I don't give a toss about their advertising arrangement with the station - companies can buy the ad space but not my opinion.

Best regards, John Cadogan

See also: Why the Holden Cruze is a dog