Changing Lanes is an extraordinary professional car website. Site has a soul and it has unique stories and reviews to tell. Owner and founder, Caroline Kidd, tells that all started from a simple blog. Since those times many lanes have been changed and website is nowadays well known of it’s quality automotive articles. Caroline has reviewed many cars and is truly experienced motoring journalist over many years already.
Adventureforester blog had an opportunity to interview Changing Lanes. This is interesting reading to all who plans to create a car blog or even better to create a career around writing. Like Caroline did. First part of the interview is about Changing Lanes/Caroline and the second part is her opinions about Subaru and she even tells something about the e-Boxer Forester too!
Let’s have Caroline to tell more!
1.Please introduce yourself
Hello, my name is Caroline Kidd and I’m a motoring journalist and the founder and editor of Changing Lanes, an Irish online automotive magazine. I’m also a juror for Irish Car of the Year.
2. How long you have been interested in cars
Since I was a very young child. There is a photo of me aged 2 with my first toy scooter. Even before the age of 10, I knew all the makes and models. As a teenager, I began to read the car magazines and I played a lot of video games too like Gran Turismo and Colin McRae Rally. So it’s a passion that’s been with me all my life!
3. How was Changing Lanes created, was it difficult to decide name for a web site
Changing Lanes was created for the first time back in the summer of 2014 to share my passion for cars and immerse myself in the exciting motoring industry. I was trying to launch a career in journalism and I wanted a platform where I could write and publish my own content and show the world what I was capable of.
It was very difficult to come up with an original name. Once you decide on a name, you have to stick with it. So it was a very important decision. At the time I was looking at a lot of open road photography. I found it very inspiring. The open road is a sign of freedom, independence and possibility. So I tried to find a name that was equally inspiring. The deeper meaning is that I too was ’changing lanes’ by setting up my own website and hoping for a good outcome. It turned out to be a very good decision! I still love the name. The site has grown with me. The visual branding has changed but the name remains the same. Changing Lanes is young, spirited and independent…and always will be!
4. You have mentioned that Changing Lanes was a simple blog first. Tell us little bit more of those times
The first generation of the site was created using the free WordPress platform. I didn’t have a business plan or really know what I was doing but I had this burning desire to start writing and publishing my own content. I signed myself up with all the press agencies of the major brands, and started securing a few press cars to review. It was really difficult to get traction in the industry. The first two years of Changing Lanes nothing much happened, but the next four have been the best of my life.
5. Do you still remember what was a first blog post and what did you write about
Yes, it was an opinion piece called ’Confused Twentysomething Seeks Answers From Motor Industry’!
6. When did you notice that hobby project could be a future profession for you
I think I’ve always taken a professional approach to Changing Lanes. But it was probably as early as 2015 when I started to see promising signs. It’s been a long journey for me with plenty of hits and misses, twists and turns. In fact there were maybe two occasions in the early days where I nearly gave up and said ’this isn’t working’. I’m glad I stuck around to help Changing Lanes reach its potential. There’s always work to be done.
7. What made your web site so successful as it is today. Could you name few keys to success
1. Consistency – I’ve always uploaded content weekly except for a few holidays.
2. Quality – I have high standards when it comes to the content I do produce.
3. Honesty – I’m writing for consumers not brands so my readers can trust a Changing Lanes review.
4. Alternative – Being a woman naturally gives me a different outlook and approach to everything I do with Changing Lanes. Not better, just different. And many readers like to read motoring content written by a woman.
5. Digital skills – I’ve worked hard to improve the search engine performance of my site. I’ve upskilled and done a lot of the work myself. My SEO knowledge influences the way I write and prepare content, but my content still reads naturally.
8. If someone would like to start a similar profession today, what it would require
It requires love, patience, passion, hard work, determination, vision and ambition. You also need good skills in writing, digital, communication, and relationship building, but these can be learnt and improved along the way.
9. Do different car brands contact you to offer a car for review or do you contact them
It’s a mix. Some will invite me to drive the car, others I will need to be a little more proactive about.
10. You have reviewed also e-Boxer Forester. What features you liked most in this car.
I adored the rock solid build of the car and the finish of the interior. The steering wheel was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and it felt really good too. I loved the way the car handled. I finally understood the Boxer engine philosophy. The ride quality was also much more premium than what I expected.
11. Did you review the pre-production model of the e-Boxer Forester or the actual Euro spec model? (If pre-prod. model, did you have change to test drive actual model also)
It was the European production model.
12. One well known feature of the Forester is all around visibility. Based on your experience what is the closest competitor in this category.
The Toyota RAV4 is probably a good match for it or any MPV with large windows like the Ford S-MAX or Fiat 500L.
13. How popular is Subaru in Ireland generally and do you see other e-Boxers in traffic. E.g. how many e-Boxers have been registered year to date.
Subaru isn’t a volume seller in Ireland but the Forester is the most popular model. People who drive Subaru love their cars and are loyal. So I do see previous generations of the Forester on Irish roads, as well as smaller numbers of the Outback, XV and of course the Impreza. The Impreza Turbo still has a huge following here among rally and motorsport fans. I have an interview with the ISDC (Irish Subaru Drivers Club) on Changing Lanes, which explains more about the fascination with this model and the Subaru brand in Ireland. You can read it here – https://changinglanes.ie/interview-with-irish-subaru-drivers-club/
14. Subaru has a loyal customer base. Any ideas how they have managed to do that.
I think they’ve kept their brand very pure as a four wheel drive specialist and this commitment to building tough and capable cars has not been diluted, despite market trends. They are a niche brand not trying to be something to everyone, instead building cars that really satisfy a particular slice of the market who appreciates tough and capable off-road vehicles with sophisticated engine technology. They’ve never let go of their Boxer engine technology, despite trends in the industry.
15. Subaru and Toyota have announced a joint effort of doing full electric cars. Any ideas what kind of SUV EV Forester would be.
We’ve seen other brands who have mixed EV power with four wheel drive capability so I think it’s one that Subaru and Toyota should do very well. I hope they get the styling right. It would be nice to see a more modern generation of Subarus in the 2020s.
16. Any regards to the Adventureforester blog readers
Thanks for reading and please connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!
Thank you Caroline Kidd!
Thank you Caroline so much of this interview! Truly interesting reading! Specially history of your online automotive magazine. Then regarding e-Boxer Forester it was interesting that you highlighted the ride quality and the steering wheel. Steering wheel is a detail that I have probably not discussed much on this blog. I totally agree with you, steering wheel is very nice!
Adventureforester blog wishes Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2021! And of course many successfully years to come with the Changing Lanes website.