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The corruption between car companies and automotive media - What do General Motors Egypt, Opel Mansour Egypt, Haima and Al-Ahram Newspaper have in common?

In every business field there are a few black sheep who jeopardize the reputation of the remaining white sheep. The automotive industry and the motoring media are no exception, especially since both those sectors have a very sensitive and critical relationship, which in some cases lead to a very obvious corruption for the advantage of the car company and a certain editor or certain publication on the one hand, and to the disadvantage of the consumer on the other hand.

So, while the corruption in Germany is extremely limited (a German journalist from a Hamburg-based car magazine was fired a few years ago when he tried to the ‘manipulate’ the result and failure of the radar-assisted braking system of a German luxury car), and while the corruption in Middle East is limited to just a few unprofessional car magazines and unprofessional newspaper supplements, we find ourselves confronted weekly with outstanding and wide-spread corruption and dishonesty in the Egyptian so-called ‘automotive-media’ where some incompetent and dishonest ‘journalists’ try to manipulate the facts and information of some car models or car companies in order to ‘please’ a certain car manufacturer and increase his sales numbers among the innocent and uneducated TV and radio audience as well as the innocent newspaper supplement readers.

Unfortunately the corruption in the automotive media in Egypt has now almost reached every media field. It started with the weekly newspaper supplements and some low-budget and low-quality car magazines, then continued in the TV sector on both the public and private TV channels to finally reach some unprofessional and automotive-company-sponsored websites and radio programs.

That is why you will find some of the most unprofessional and most incompetent automotive media in the region coming from Egypt, such as the weekly Al-Ahram automotive supplement (with its highly incompetent ‘crime-scene reporter’ and advertising sales persons working as ‘automotive journalist) which is unfortunately published by the well-known Al Ahram newspaper, the Aksa Sur3a TV program on Al Oula TV (Channel 1 of the Egyptian Radio & Television Union ERTU) co-presented by one of those Al-Ahram crime-scene reporters, the Aksa Sur3a radio program on El Shabab Wel Reyada radio channel (also part of the ERTU) which is also co-presented by the same incompetent Al-Ahram crime-scene reporter, the out-dated and full-of-inaccurate-information-and-facts Dos Banzine TV program on the private TV channel El Mehwar TV and many many more which we will ‘introduce’ and analyze over the next few weeks.

One of the few car companies where you get this impression and feeling of wide-spread ‘FAVOURS’ done ‘above and beneath the table’ (like we say in Egypt) is General Motors Egypt & Opel Egypt Mansour, especially when you follow its strange and unexplainable ‘cooperation’ with some of the most unprofessional newspaper automotive supplement and some of the most incompetent ‘journalists’, who happen not to have the slightest knowledge about cars whatsoever.

You get this strange impression at least three times a week when you see how General Motors Egypt & Opel Egypt Mansour is the only car company in Egypt getting so intensively ‘involved’ with Al-Ahram crime-scene reporter Hesham El Zeiny in his articles in the Al-Ahram newspaper as well as in the highly unprofessional and misleading Aksa Sur3a program on Al Oula TV, as well as in the extremely silly and also misleading Aksa Sur3a program on El Shabab Wel Reyada radio program, where he is in both cases the male guest-co-presenter of the show with a totally clueless aind inexperienced female presenter. Those two female presenters are of course, unlike Hesham El Zeiny, full-time employed as an ERTU presenter at the radio station and the TV station.

Without the support and sponsoring of General Motors Egypt & Opel Egypt Mansour he would have surely not have been able to enter the Al Oula TV Channel nor the Shabab Wel Reyada 108.0 radio channel due to his well-known automotive incompetence and lack of skills and basics.

The accurate and useful information you get from those two Aksa Sur3a programs are almost zero, while at the same time this crime-scene reporter and each of his two completely clueless and totally inexperienced female co-presenters (Nevine El Kadi in Aksa Sur3a on Al Oula TV and Reeham Sewalam on Aksa Sur3a on Radio El Shabab Wel Reyada 108.0) keep on trying the whole time to transfer a few hidden ‘positive’ messages and information about the products of General Motors Egypt and Opel Egypt Mansour to their viewers and listeners.

Screaming like a 17-years-old cheerleader ‘Ooooooopel’ when announcing some ‘independent’ Opel or General Motors news in his radio show, just show how unprofessional this crime-scene reporter Hesham El Zeiny is and how ‘close’ his relationship is with General Motors Egypt & Opel Egypt Mansour.

Why is it that I cannot lose the feeling that some ‘automotive’ reporters and crime-scene reporters are on the pay-roll of General Motors and Opel Egypt? Hmmmm …

Anyway, the way this crime-scene reporter keeps on ‘spoiling’ General Motors Egypt and Opel Mansour in his articles as well as in his shows, and the way General Motors and Opel are ‘spoiling’ this highly incompetent ‘automotive’ writer by inviting him to their international media events in the USA and Germany, just gives you the impression that he is the loyal and spoiled lap-puppy of GM and Opel.

You get this impression because this crime-scene reporter called Hesham El Zeiny has no idea about cars or the automotive industry, lacks any automotive or testing background and does not speak one word English (which means he understands nothing at the international events and international press conferences). His only advantage is that he works as a crime-scene reporter in one of Egypt’s well-known newspaper, the Al-Ahram.

Talking about Al-Ahram, it is really strange how many incompetent and unprofessional so-called ‘journalists’ and strange characters are working in this more than 100-years old newspaper. Not only is their weekly automotive supplement full of unskilled crime-scene-reporter and advertising sales representative (at least 95% of them), who unfortunately get invited to the international test-drive events where they embarrass the whole Middle Eastern motoring society, but the Al-Ahram is unfortunately also home to some very strange characters called ‘journalists’ who tried to threaten and blackmail some car companies and other motoring media in order to exchange their old Chevrolet and Skoda cars with new ones for free. But we will talk about this incident involving a certain Mr. Ghamry and Skoda Egypt in one of the upcoming weeks in details.

Now, back to our main story.

So, what makes General Motors Egypt & Opel Egypt Mansour get involved so heavily with such an unskilled, incompetent and unprofessional character in the Egyptian media? Is it because the Chevrolet models ‘win’ over other competitors (such as Brilliance) in some 2-minutes comparison tests when Hesham El Zeiny invites former Toyota-manager Raafat Masrouga for a short 5-min conversation in the radio show on El Shabab Wel Reyada?

I can understand and see a good reason that General Motors Egypt and Mansour sponsors a program such as El Mawkaf on Nogoum FM Radio with the Chevrolet Joker, as this is the correct target group and since the local singer Shaaban Abdel Rehim is very popular among the microbus and pick-up drivers in Egypt.

But supporting and sponsoring other unprofessional shows such as Aksa Sur3a on Al Oula TV Channel or Aksa Sur3a on the radio will only lead to the fact that General Motors and Mansour will inevitably support, encourage and spread more unprofessionalism and more corruption in the local Egyptian media.

Such lousy and misleading TV and radio shows as well as their presenters (who are in most cases either corrupt advertising sales persons or unskilled crime-scene reporters) are the main reasons why the motoring media in Egypt (and many parts of the Middle East) are so undeveloped, not-respected and light-years away from professional and respectable motoring media we find in Europe and the USA.

General Motors Egypt and Mansour should also pay attention when their employees go on air and talk about their company and spread inaccurate and misleading information, just like Eng. Mahmoud Elwani did on 24.2.2013 on Radio Masr 88.7 !

Ziad El Refaia, Opel Sales Director at Mansour Egypt, should also be a little bit more accurate when talking about the Opel brands in newspapers such as the Al-Ahram or Al Gomhuria. Stating that the 2007 Opel Corsa, 2009 Opel Astra Station, 2010 Opel Meriva and Opel Mokka are ‘new models from Opel’ is a little bit far-fetched, extremely inaccurate and very misleading as well.

I would expect and appreciate a little bit more respect for the Egyptian reader and consumer, which would surely help in building up the confidence of the Egyptian consumer in this German brand.

Talking about a ‘stable German brand in great condition’ in the Egyptian media while Opel is doing major restructuring in Europe and planning to close many Opel factories such as the Bochum factory in 2014 (meanwhile in 2016) is also just ‘a little’ bit inaccurate and misleading to the Egyptian public.

What supported my currently very negative impression about General Motors Egypt and Opel Mansour was the fact that we were contacted and invited by their PR agency recently to attend the Opel press conference at the 2013 Automech Formula Motor Show last January. When I arrived at the Opel stand I asked somebody from the PR Department of General Motors Egypt when the press conference would talk place. I was told by one of the ladies there that (quote): ‘there will be no press conference, there is only the Media Meet & Greet on the Opel stand!’

A few days later some of the ‘favorite’ and loyal newspaper supplements were featuring full-pages of paid advertorials about this press conference with the representative from Opel Germany. Very strange indeed!

So my question here is: Did General Motors and Opel Egypt only invite favorite and loyal ‘journalists’, crime-scene reporters and advertising sales representatives to this press conference? Or were they afraid of some critical questions from the real and independent motoring media?

Anyway, to cut the story short for this week … So, is General Motors Egypt & Opel Mansour the only automotive company in Egypt getting involved so ‘intensively’ with such unprofessional and corrupted TV programs and radio programs?

The answer is ‘No’. Also the Chinese car importer Haima (part of the Abou Ghali Group) has proved some strange relation with crime-scene reporter Hesham El Zeiny and his unprofessional TV program Aksa Sur3 on Al Oula TV. After he hosted Haima Marketing & Sales Director Mohamed Gamal El Din in his program as an ‘automotive expert’ (and not as Haima representative to avoid paying advertising fees to the Advertising & Financial department of the Egyptian Radio & Television Union ERTU), El Zeiny was invited and ‘employed’ from Haima as the MC and microphone man at the launch reception of the latest Haima models.

Inviting automotive manager (including representative from General Motors, Opel, Subaru, Haima, etc.) as ‘automotive experts’ in his Aksa Sur3a TV show on Al Oula TV and his Aksa Sur3a radio show on el Shabab Wel Reyada 108.0 radio channel, and then personally benefiting from them and their car companies later on is a clear breaching of the media ethics as well as the advertising rules of the Egyptian Television and Radio Union, which will surely take action in this matter very soon.

Anyway, enough for this week. Stay tuned for our ‘weekly motoring media analysis’ next week, where we will continue unveiling the misconduct of some car companies and their ‘loyal writers’ and crime-scene reporters.

At the end I would like to give a very strong advice to the international car companies and their local importers and dealers, to watch out for their business and media strategies over the next few weeks as a new era of ‘motoring media monitoring’ has started this week !

Therefore I strongly recommend that all car and motorcycle companies start working with and inviting only professional, respectable, independent and ‘REAL’ motoring journalists to their test-drives and press conferences instead of those shaddy crime-scene reporters and unskilled advertising sales representatives in order to keep away any corruption impression or investigations from their companies and international brands.

Finally, I am really interested to hear and read the opinion of the Opel headquarter in Germany as well as the statement of the General Motors headquarter in Detroit about what is going on here in Egypt at General Motors Egypt and Opel Egypt Mansour. We will post their statements here as soon as we receive them.

Stay tuned for a new weekly coverage of corruption between the automotive companies and the local Egyptian so-called ‘automotive-media’, next week here on !

Mohamed Sheta

Caption 1:

The 2007 Opel Corsa, 2009 Opel Astra Station, 2010 Opel Meriva and Opel Mokka are supposed to be new cars from Opel? Give us a break, Mr. Ziad El Refaie

Caption 2:
The inexperienced and question-mark-raising crime-scene reporter Hesham El Zeiny hosting Mohamed Gamal El Deen as an automotive expert in Aksa Sur3a program on Al Oula TV. Only a few days later, Mohamed Gamal El Din, who is the Haima Sales & Marketing director in Egypt, invited and engaged Hesham El Zeiny as MC and microphone man at the launch reception of the new Haima passenger cars. What a coincidence !!! Clearly in the background you can see the Chevrolet logo. I am very surprised why General Motors is sponsoring such low-quality productions and unprofessional journalists.

Caption 3:
The unprofessional and incompetent Hesham El Zeiny with his clueless and also totally inexperienced co-presenter Nevine El Kadi in Aksa Sur3a on Al Oula TV Channel, which is part of the Egyptian Radio & Television Union ERTU. There must be a very good reason why General Motors and Opel Mansour are supporting such misleading TV programs and incompetent journalism. Again in the background you will find the iconic Chevrolet logo, which is extremely business-harming for all General Motors brand when it is seen in such a low-quality and misleading TV production.

Caption 4:
Tarek Atta, CEO at General Motors Egypt, is allowed to say whatever he wants in the favorite newspapers of GME and Opel Mansour, as long as General Motors Egypt and Opel Mansour pay the bill for many page-long advertisements in all major newspaper such as Al-Ahram and Al Gomhuria (seen here).

Caption 5:
Free check on the car suspension and brakes? Well, so what! It is free everywhere in the world! Another misleading message from General Motors Egypt and Opel Mansour just to get the customer into the service center.

Caption 6:
Opel Express Showroom in Mall of Arabia? Next to all the restaurants and Spinney super-market? Hmmmm … it seems that there are not enough customers going to the traditional Opel show-rooms anymore. I wonder what the reason that would be? Maybe the recent horrendous and unexplainable increase in the Opel Astra prices by almost 10.000 LE?

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