In the car world manufacturers like to give their four or five year old car models superficial appearance changes to stimulate sales of an aging model. This is known as a "facelift". Take for example Volkswagen of America. Approximately 2 years before an outgoing model is replaced by its successor, VW likes to introduce a "Wolfsburg Edition" or "Driver's Edition". Usually these limited production models have special trim packages, special wheels, fun colors or something that was not previously available to stimulate new interest. After one reviews the newly redesigned GermanCarFans.com (GCF) web site the term "facelift" may come to mind. However, "facelift" is hardly an accurate term. Try to imagine the new GCF web site as the new BMW E60 5 Series. At first glance, the contours are obnoxious and disharmonious with the out going model. But once accustomed to its appearance, it becomes something new with its own unique personality and energy. It is not just an incremental evolutionary step. It is a bold and intentional leap forward. On the surface we have made the pages more appealing, moved some things around and added new content categories. But underneath is where the engine runs in a complex system of databases, variables and code. We have rebuilt the new site from the ground up while expanding our server infrastructure. The main ethics behind this new design were: enhanced navigation, content expansion and diversity. In the coming months we will launch several new web sites which have been co-developed with the new GCF unveiled today. It is a huge undertaking that raises the bar for online automotive publications. Tackling the remaining 51 major auto manufacturers around the globe these new web sites will satisfy automotive enthusiasts of all disciplines and cultures while collectively establishing themselves as top tier publications. New features:
- Spy photos & artist impressions - the most requested content by our readers during a survey launched last year. An overwhelming 70% of our readership listed spy photo materials as the number one content they wanted to see on GCF.com. Also included in the Spy category are artist impressions of future models.
- Inclusion of Opel content - no longer is GCF content following corporate affiliations but rather heritage of a particular brand (with a few exceptions).
- Tuner News - newly added category where all news/product releases from non auto maker performance/styling tuning companies reside.
- Large photo slide show - we now offer our large size (800x600 pixels) photos in a scrollable slide show format which allows you to select the next or previous photo. All photos are displayed in their own web page as opposed to our previous version which deployed a separate pop-up window which prevented readers with pop-up ad blocker software from accessing the photos.
- Dedicated manufacturer pages - news, photos and feature content is additionally organized by auto maker (Maybach, Skoda, Opel, etc.) to facilitate readers conducting research or readers only interested in content of a particular manufacturer. The old system of organizing content by category still remains.
- Technology content - news and product releases from major automotive suppliers such as Bosch, Delphi, ZF, Visteon, Siemens, etc will be integrated into their respective manufacturer news categories.
- Web search capabilities - readers conducting research can now utilize the built-in search engine to specify GCF web site search or World Wide Web search. Advanced search options allow targeting your search to specific content categories.
- Optimized screen resolution - an overwhelming 80 percent of GCF readers utilize a minimum screen resolution of 1024x768 for which most of the new web site has been optimized to accommodate.
- Mini photo album - news, features, tuner and spy category articles each containing less than 20 photos will include a mini photo album within its pages. Related photo albums containing more than 20 photos will be externally linked via "related content" links with photo count.
- Expanded main page - now displaying more content. The previous version showed 1 fixed headline and 10 sub-headlines. The new version can show a maximum of 6 headlines and 20 sub headlines and 30 site updates all appearing in chronological order. In the coming weeks we will deploy an unprecedented flexible front page which will have the ability accommodate a variety of scenarios. Depending on the flow of daily breaking news and auto show premieres the face of the front page could potentially change on a daily basis.
GermanCarFans.com also introduces two new Contributing Editors. They are uncorrupted experts who are only concerned with reporting real information. We would like to introduce Contributing Editor, Przemek Lis and Contributing Artist, Hussein Al-Attar to the Spy Photos category. Together they will keep you informed of the latest developments and interpretations of future car models. Use of proprietary photo content delivered in this category can originate from outside sources. In respect to internet etiquette photo content will not be edited and proper credits and watermarks will be maintained to the original creator, transmitter, licensee or source. Due to the vast distribution nature of the internet, many publications violate this code of ethics. We respect the rights of the original authors and will cease publication immediately if said author/publisher requests. The development of these new web sites started over 8 months ago. The original launch date was planned months ago but the complexity of the architecture required constant re-evaluation and scheduling delays. While running the day to day operations GCF Web Master, Bienvenido Concepcion and I will continue to refine the site and add new features such as an email newsletter and video section. We are also accepting reader's submissions of original stories, opinions and arguments pertaining to the automotive world. We can't promise a response to every submission but we will try our best. Please email your stories to stories[at]germancarfans.com. The new GermanCarFans.com pushes the envelope of online automotive content delivery in a way that puts its readership at priority number one. Future plans include undiluted editorials and commentaries, test drives, comparisons and enhanced video presentations. We do not sell subscriptions or products and we do not have any manufacturer affiliations dictating the direction of our content. If GCF is of value to you, please tell all of your friends, family, colleagues, visit daily and patronize our advertisers. We are a modest crew striving to deliver the strongest car enthusiasts web site available. Your support is essential to keep this web site free. Support us and we will deliver.