Leaks, are they a good thing? Who benefits the most? #BlogPost
So recently in the car world, in the past few years the amount of leaks occurring have shot up, whether it be specs, interiors or even full cars, you cannot deny how insane things have gotten lately. It has never been easier to catch a glimpse into the future, but is this really a good thing?
There are a few ways leaks happen, one of the more comon ones is people in workshops snapping quick pictures when nobody is looking, hence why some of them don’t show as much as say, a professional photographer could.
This is normally how most cars get leaked but it can get really crazy, this is because there have been instances where cars have been revealed by complete accident. One prime example of this being the facelifted Porsche 911 GT3-RS, the 991.2 generation, it was leaked by Australian web magazine ‘Drive’ in early February 2018, the car was revealed approximately two weeks later. Manufacturers themselves have also accidentally leaked their cars through incompetence on social media, Toyota did this when scheduling the new Supra’s reveal video on Twitter, they accidentally posted it and a few people saw it early before it was taken down, however the damage was already done as somebody managed to download and repost it and in a matter of minutes it was spread across the digital car world.
Changing gears for a second, there was actually an instance about a week ago where a new, unannounced Motorola Phone was listed on Amazon, somebody bought it, it shipped, they got it and they filmed an unboxing video with it on YouTube, all while it officially didn’t exist. Imagine if something like this happened with the next Volkswagen Golf. This is an extreme example but it displays the incompetence and recklessness of some companies when it comes to the handling of unannounced and unreleased products.
Leaks are not necessarily always the full car however, on multiple occasions, parts of new cars have been leaked, by far the most prominent example was when somebody at GM leaked CAD drawings for the upcoming Chevrolet Corvette in 2017, a full two years ago now, these detail the chassis construction and two engines, one of which is a twin turbocharged unit, allegedly called the ‘LT7’. It’s amazing to think that we know all this information about what’s under the car’s skin but we have yet to see a leak of the actual body design. Saying that, somebody in a paint shop leaked the front & rear bumpers, combine these with the spy shots, a little bit of Photoshop and boom, we have almost perfect renders of it.
A quick rundown of some leaks that occurred in recent memory;
- The Toyota Supra had pretty much everything leaked, including official images and even a trailer
- The 991.2 911 GT3 RS was fully leaked weeks before the reveal
- The 488 Pista had quite a few leaks leading up to the reveal, the name and design were leaked shortly before the unveiling
- The Lamborghini Centanario had the entire design leaked via patent about a day before the reveal
- The upcoming Audi E Tron GT was also leaked via patent
- The new Suzuki Jimny was leaked months before the reveal through official images being acquired early
- Details about the upcoming BMW M3 having a manual RWD trim have been leaked
- The Ferrari SF90 Stradale had an image of it on stage followed by official images leaked just hours before the unveiling
In short, if it’s gonna be big, it’s gonna get leaked. So what are the consequences and benefits if there are any?
So imagine this, you are a chief engineer working for a car company, you’ve spent all day testing the next big car, you get home and turn on the computer, the first thing you see is an article leaking the design, specs and date of your upcoming car. How would you feel? Not very happy I would imagine. Part of the fun of working in the car industry must come from seeing people excited and surprised at a big announcement that nobody saw coming , but now that can’t happen now that it’s been fully leaked, can it?
I think of leaks as knowing exactly what you’re going to get for Christmas early, sure it’s exciting at first but once Christmas rolls around it’s not very special because you knew what you were going to get, the magic and excitement is gone.
A strong argument for leaks is that they build hype for the product in question, which it certainly does. Quite a few companies have been accused of intentionally leaking their products in order to generate hype, the games industry is especially known for this. One example being the Import / Export update that came to GTA Online in 2016, while the leaks were not proven to be orchestrated by Rockstar, the community has certainly remained skeptical none the less, and the Import Export update was without a doubt the most hyped up update the game has ever received.
The very few car reveals that were not spoiled stick out way more than reveals that were, a prime example of this being the new Tesla Roadster, the way it was revealed was genius. After they finished the event for the Semi they acted like the event was over, before the lights dimmed and the Semi turned around and opened the trailer, through the fog within the trailer, a pair of glowing headlights shone through, out drove the new Roadster, completely unexpected by anybody, then Elon Musk took to the stage and gave us some numbers:
- 1.9s 0-60, 4.2s 0-100
- 1/4 mile in 8.9s
- 10,000nm torque
- 620 mile range
These numbers are game changing, especially in a car that’s going to cost $250,000 versus the Bugatti Chiron’s $3 million price-tag. As a result of this reveal, the internet was set on fire, all you were seeing for the next week were people talking about the Roadster. This is what happens when you wait until Christmas to open your presents.
The fact Tesla managed to keep this car and these stats a secret was an amazing achievement. There was literally no indication of there being a reveal coming because there were no test mules at all. The only thing I can think of that comes close is the Bugatti Divo, had they not teased it before hand, that reveal would have been similar to the Roadster.
All in all, I think leaks are a mixed bag of hit & miss. They can be good for building hype when done right, such as the occasional bit here and there but some leaks are just unreasonable, especially ones like the A90 Supra and C8 Corvette. It’s nice to have little tidbits of information pop up here and there but is it really better than Christmas? I don’t think so.
Thanks for reading.