Telum talks to… Purwandana Budyandaka, Editor-in-Chief, CintaMobil.com

Telum talks to… Purwandana Budyandaka, Editor-in-Chief, CintaMobil.com
Muhammad Arby

This week, Telum caught up with the Editor-in-Chief of CintaMobil.com, Purwandana Budyandaka (Nanda), about the impact of COVID-19 on the automotive sector in Indonesia, the new normal, and tips for communications professionals on engaging with the media.

There are lots of automotive publications in Indonesia, what makes CintaMobil.com stand out?
CintaMobil.com is an automotive content hub that provides information about four-wheeled vehicles and cars, which are connected to a car marketplace platform. We are part of the Dai Viet Group in Vietnam. Apart from Indonesia, we also have sister companies in Vietnam, Thailand, Nigeria, the Philippines, India and Mexico, with different names.

How is CintaMobil.com reviewing vehicles during COVID-19?
We have limited movement during this pandemic because invitations for offline events such as car launches have switched to online. For car reviews, we provide information on prices, comparisons with similar models, and which one looks more attractive on paper. But we still need to borrow the car and drive it for a  product review.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on CintaMobil.com and the automotive sector in Indonesia?
The biggest impact is on our income. Before and during the pandemic, our income was very different. Our income dropped by more than 80 percent, because campaigns with car manufacturers and other forms of partnerships were put on hold. They were taking a wait-and-see approach.

Our working routine has changed. Before COVID-19, after covering an offline event, we would go straight back to the office to edit our content  so that it could be published immediately. Because of work-from-home, the process of editing has become longer. After shooting, we have to compile the videos, send them to the editor, send back the file, so there is a lot of work. COVID-19 makes our work more difficult, but we have adapted.

Hybrid vehicles and electric cars are increasingly recognised by the public, what do you think is the right format for communications professionals to host events or send press releases?
The main problems with introducing hybrid and electric cars are awareness, education, and community experience. Indeed, when car manufacturers want to introduce new products, especially hybrids, there must be more education for the public. Information from PRs is easier to digest in the form of videos and press releases, so both are a must.

How does CintaMobil.com see the Sales Tax on Luxury Goods (PPnBM), which is currently a hot issue in the Indonesian automotive world?
It is beneficial and has an impact on many people, but on the other hand there are things that cannot be solved by the policy. We will support it, but it would be even better if there were further decisions on emissions testing or an age limit on cars.

How important is the role of media to the automotive sector in Indonesia?
Everyone needs the most transparent and objective information when they are making a purchasing decision according to their budget and needs. The role of the media is very important there. We always try to be objective without bias even though there is a partnership.

Does CintaMobil.com feel threatened with the presence of content creators or celebrities who also review vehicles?
We are not too worried. Anyone can do a car review. The easiest way is to simply include information from car specs. However, when potential consumers want to get more in-depth information, they want to know the opinion of journalists who have had the opportunity to test various cars and compare them with others.

What kind of automotive news do Indonesians like?
News about the upcoming car releases, especially when we publish it in a timely manner. In addition, news about traffic updates, government policies related to transportation, traffic accidents, and similar news depending where  readers live. People also like to read how-to articles such as automatic transmission, how to register Vehicle Registration Certificate and driver’s license renewal.

What are your suggestions for communicating with the automotive media?My advice is that PRs should not hesitate to contact the media via email or WhatsApp. I'm sure no one would mind, because we also feel more comfortable with a personal approach. You can also send your press releases by email.
 
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