Aiming to emulate Clarkson, Hammond and May, MotorHub.ie is striving to become Ireland’s top motoring review website. Car sales in Ireland are booming. ThinkBusiness talk to the guys involved in MotorHub about their journey so far.
What’s the background of MotorHub.ie?
Motorhub.ie was started by Daragh O’Tuama as a personal platform in 2013. Following his role in the setup of Newstalk.com’s motors section, Daragh decided to bring Motorhub back to life and asked me (Brian Kellett) to join forces with him. I happily accepted, we formed a partnership and started a plan for the company. The primary focus of the website was to act as an outlet for motoring news and reviews while making revenue via other digital services, including the creation of videos for car manufacturers for promotional use.
In November 2015, Bob Flavin (ex-motoring editor of Independent.ie and purveyor of Ireland’s largest YouTube motors channel – TheNextGear) and Michael Sheridan (experienced motoring writer with RTÉ and TV producer/director) also agreed to join the Motorhub team. This boosted our video offering. It put a new focus on creating video and podcasts for the site.
What’s it like to review cars? What’s your average day like?
Mondays are always car swap day, so depending on which manufacturer you are due to collect from, they can be somewhat of a right off (nice complaint). The average day, however, consists of touching base with the team in the morning to plan and confirm the news, reviews and content for the day. We also work on our social media strategy and discuss business projects.
What was the turning point for you – when you realised you could do this?
With Motorhub, we felt the joining of four active names in the industry to one would give a more balanced and varied opinion. Each member brings unique skills and experience regarding creating engaging written, video and podcast content. It gives Motorhub our niche appeal.
How open/receptive is the car industry to you guys?
The four of us have a combined 40 years plus experience in automotive journalism. We’re also acting members of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP), so the industry knows us very well at this stage. Motorhub is very well received by the industry with manufacturers welcoming the move. Our aim is to give their products the best possible exposure through Motorhub.ie with fair, balanced and professional opinions that the consumer can trust.
Everybody makes mistakes when they’re starting out, is there any advice you could give?
We are still very much in the early days ourselves regarding the commercial side of the Motorhub business. But it is critical that you know your customer, the market and what service you can provide to help them to increase sales. We hope that the video and digital services we offer can help manufacturers improve their customer engagement and ultimately increase sales. We know there is a steep learning curve ahead, but that’s part of growing the business.
What are your ultimate ambitions for the website?
Our ultimate ambition for the site is to make it the number one motoring review site in Ireland. It may be a tiny market, but the competition is very stiff. The site itself is quite basic to start with, but we have plans to make it more attractive and engaging to set us apart from the others.
Lastly, what’s the best car you’ve ever driven?
That’s a tough question. The most thrilling car I’ve driven (so far) is a Lamborghini Gallardo Spider (main image) around the mountains of Barcelona. Spanish sun, the top down, and the sound of a Lamborghini is kind of unforgettable.
Article by Patrick Masterson. Main image from Massimiliano Lamagna / Shutterstock.com.