Remember those spy photos of the next generation Cadillac Escalade and Chevy Tahoe? Turns out that GM is pretty ticked off they were taken and published on the Internet. The photos could potentially weaken interest in GM's current crop of large SUVs and offer its competitor's insight into the company's plans for its highly profitable replacements. The photographer apparently called Brenda Priddy, a well-known spy photographer in the industry, and wanted to make a deal. The veteran spy shooter refused to handle the photos and warned the man not post them citing GM's wrath for reason. The General has no tolerance for spy photographers or journalists who disregard embargoes after pics of the C6 Corvette raced around the Internet before its debut at the Detroit Auto Show this year.
We feel bad for GM that this has happened, as it will probably cause some damage in the form of lower sales for the current Escalade and Tahoe. The manner in which the pics were taken is the issue at hand, as it seems they were procured at a photo shoot by someone who was invited into the studio by a friend who worked there. Automakers know that when they test a car out in the wild there?s the potential for it to be captured by a camera, but a photo studio is private property.
There are tons of photo studios in Detroit that make their money off of the auto industry. This could potentially hurt those studios as well if the automakers no longer trust their security. While I was an editor in Detroit for Speed, Style & Sound I directed many photo shoots at various studios that also did business with the Big 3. I certainly saw vehicles I wasn?t supposed to see, but I had no desire to hurt the professional photographers I worked with by damaging their relationships with their biggest clients.
At the same time, when we here at Autoblog ran across the pics we didn?t hesitate to post them. Once spy shots have been released every automotive news outlet feels the pressure to cover them to remain competitive. We?re interested to hear your comments on this story, as the Spy Photos link on Autoblog draws tons of traffic. Does GM have a right to be furious or are spy photos an inevitability that automakers should accept and perhaps learn to appreciate for the buzz they create?