Telum Talks To… Lionel Kong, Editor-in-Chief, CarBuyer Singapore

Telum Talks To… Lionel Kong, Editor-in-Chief, CarBuyer Singapore

1. Congratulations on your appointment as Editor-in-Chief at CarBuyer Singapore! Can you share a bit of your day to day in your current role?
Keeping tabs on the news in the automotive industry internationally, an ear on the ground about what's coming up on car retail scene in Singapore, seeing what's trending on automotive social media news, and also a lot of writing and overseeing the production of videos for CarBuyer Singapore's online channels.

2. In your experience, what strategies / key learning points have you found most successful in navigating the evolving landscape of automotive journalism?
You have to stay a step ahead in how you present stories and information to the audience. From a time when it was all about print media to the present online, digital age, things evolve very quickly over the years and what was once 'new media' a short while ago can become old hat. We have never really come to grips with how the media industry has the potential to evolve, so there's a lot of trying out new ideas, and seeing what makes an impact. Automotive journalism is also one of those niche segments where you need to have a few specific sets of skills to do the job well. You need to be technical-minded but also creative, be interested in cars but also not reckless, passionate but also objective. We like cars, but we also make a very important point to not get 'sucked into the machinery'. Always remember that these are consumer products, and luxury cars are exclusively designed to fulfil a want, rather than a need.

3. What are some challenges or achievements you wish to highlight in your journey at CarBuyer Singapore thus far?
The COE and tax situation in Singapore, along with the worldwide electrical component shortage since Covid-19, has put the whole automotive retail business here in a bit of a quandary. Maintaining audience interest in new technology like electric vehicles and keeping readers informed about what could be their next car purchase are the main content drivers in these times. Over the last 12 months, the team has worked hard to grow our social media presence in the ever more crowded digital sphere, while continuing to deliver timely, concise news and reviews on the car buying scene in Singapore.

4. What are some exciting things your readers can keep a lookout for, for the rest of 2023?
We will continue to work closely in partnership with the official auto dealerships in Singapore to bring our audience inside news on the motor trade in Singapore, along with our honest, in-depth reviews of new cars that arrive at our shores. Our core team is quite small compared to some other titles in the industry, but as it has always been, we try to consistently punch above our weight.

5. CarBuyer Singapore has been around for about 17 years since its inception, what do you think the publication has that sets it apart from other similar automotive-centric publications?
Actually, CarBuyer Singapore has been in business for close to 20 years. If my memory serves, the title has been through the hands of six editors while being steered from the helm for many of those years by brand founder Leow Ju-Len. Along the way we've seen other titles rise, and also many fall into the pages of history. Somewhere on the road, we've also become the licensed publishers of BBC's Top Gear in Singapore, helmed separately by my colleague David Khoo. There's no secret formula to immortality in this business. We think that the ability to stay abreast of trending media delivery techniques and telling a good, informative and honest story help, but also in these times when the Internet allows everyone to voice their opinions, we have to lay out the information for our readers that allows them to make informed choices on their own.

6. From your perspective, has interest in automobiles and the motoring industry seen an increase or a decrease? Why is that?
Interest in cars as a hobby has been on a steady decline for the last decade worldwide, and data from the industry has confirmed it. A core segment of car interest groups remain, but with more digital distractions and activities at every corner than ever these days, the time and attention of the younger generation are more diverse than ever. People have come to engage with cars in a different way, and more for the digital tech and online connectivity rather than how well they handle through corners. That said, all this digital tech has enabled the creation of safer cars than ever, with the car's active safety systems keeping you safe on the roads.

7. What kind of pitches do you or your team look out for and what are three things you appreciate in a pitch?
Remember that the job of CarBuyer Singapore is to inform and educate our audience who are researching about buying a new or used car, and also to find out about news in the industry. Send along pitches that fit into this space and there's a high chance we'll roll with it.

More stories

Telum Media


Lionel Kong

CarBuyer Singapore

2 contacts, 1 media request

Get in touch to hear more

Request demo

Telum Media


Regular email alerts featuring the latest news and moves from the media industry across Asia Pacific Enjoy exclusive daily interviews with senior journalists and PRs as well as in-house editorial and features from the Telum team

Subscribe for alerts