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Top stories of 2015

by David Zatz on

By far, the top stories of 2015 were product related, with readers dismissing corporate and dealership changes, profits and sales reports, and other “dry” facts for car and truck news and rumors.

The #1 story for the year was our release on 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee changes, garnering for than double the readership of the next best story.  One reason for this was its staying power: the story ran in June, but didn’t peak in viewership until August, continuing to draw attention all the way into October. The odd thing about this is that changes to the Grand Cherokee were fairly minor, other than swapping out the Curse-O-Matic shifter (which always dropped back to a neutral position) for a conventional-feel unit.

That story was followed by Patrick Rall’s coverage of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat X, a one-off customized car created for a raffle. This story peaked quickly but garnered a lot of attention in July, when it was first posted.

Ram took the next two stories, with changes to the heavy-duty pickup line for 2016 — a surprisingly popular story — and a feature on the Ram 3500 diesel hitting a stunning 900 pound-feet of torque, which would have been good for a Class 8 tractor when the first Dodge pickup gained Cummins power. Both stories peaked quickly when they hit in June.

Following that was another performance story — Kenne Bell’s 901 Hemi 392 package. Not many people seemed to notice it in February, but it collected a good response through the rest of the year.

Then we had confirmation of the Wagoneer, the Dodge Dart GLH rumor and wide-spread Hurricane story, and, finally, the appearance of the first wrecked Hellcat car on an auction site, allowing someone to do a relatively cheap transplant. The Wagoneer story was a hit from August to October, then faded; Dart lasted from August to November; and the wrecked Hellcat came and went in January.

For the year, we had slightly more visitors and fewer views than in 2013 and 2014, which were otherwise close. From 2012 to 2013, the news section doubled in popularity. 82% of visitors were from the United States; 14% from Canada; 2% from Italy; and then under 1% from Australia, Germany, Mexico, the UK, and France in that order. Other nations, such as Brazil and the Netherlands, followed, but there was a sharp break between France and Brazil; oddly, France, the UK, and Mexico were quite similar in viewership, as were Australia and Germany.

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