About me

Image credit: Neil Birkitt

My name is Elaine Catton and I’ve been in the auto industry all my professional life. As a journalist, I write largely on industry and technology topics with the occasional foray into product when presented with the opportunity to drive a fast car (who wouldn’t!). Having spent most of the last 20 years writing for print, I am now making a concerted effort to raise my digital footprint – this blog is part of that.

However, I’m not going to attempt to cover the entire automotive industry here – that would be silly. Instead, I’m focusing on a topic that is vast enough on its own – new mobility (also known as future mobility). This refers to the massive upheaval currently underway driven by megatrends like digitalisation, urbanisation and environmental sustainability, and encompasses issues such as electric cars, shared mobility models, emissions and autonomous vehicles. The aim is to provide content from the world of new mobility that is digestible and engaging for the non expert – because, let’s face it, mobility is literally what “drives” economies and it impacts the daily lives of every single one of us to some degree or another.

As a freelance automotive journalist, I have been covering the industry, writing about its products, technologies and companies from Germany, the United States and the UK. Over the years I have been a regular contributor to industry, news-stand publications such as Automotive News, Automotive Engineer, European Car and various enthusiast publications such as Audi Driver, Volkswagen Driver and quattro quarterly. I also write for corporate publications like Encounter (Audi’s technology magazine) and ettore (the Bugatti customer magazine).

In the spirit of cross-platform journalism, I have also been developing my presenting skills in front of the camera …

From March 2019: Reporting from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show
From September 2018: The transition away from fossil fuels in our day-to-day mobility

Oh, and I’m occasionally let loose with a microphone at enthusiast event Audi Driver International and the Audi Driver Magazine annual awards dinner.

I get to drive in some interesting vehicles

Image credit: Neil Birkitt and Heiko Simayer

It may also help to know that I speak fluent German and spend a lot of my time translating and editing press material for corporate clients under my White Pine Communications business. This has provided me with excellent insights into a wide range of innovations and developments in this fast-moving industry.

  • Technical papers for Volke-Kommunikations-Design GmbH (Volkswagen)
  • Press releases, web articles and speeches for OSK GmbH (Mercedes-Benz, Harman, ZF)
  • Books and magazines for Delius Klasing Verlag (Porsche, Bugatti, Opel)
  • Corporate publications for Reil Media GmbH (Audi, Volkswagen)
  • Publicity material for other tier 1 suppliers (GKN, Kiekert, Knorr Bremse, Outokumpu, Johnson Controls)

One manufacturer even saw fit to name a concept car after me.

So where did it all start?

I began by studying Industrial Design in Edinburgh, after which I joined an engineering development company specialising in superchargers and other powertrain technology. This gave me a sound appreciation of the technology underpinning how vehicles move – not a bad start. I then went to work in the truck components industry – for a company that made axles, transmissions and chassis components. Not only did this teach me about the commercial vehicles sector, I also picked up quite a bit about manufacturing along the way. By now, I had switched to marketing and communications, which taught me to explain to others what this business is all about.

The final stop on my corporate journey was with Cosworth, a company best known for its associations with Formula 1 and with 1980s high-performance road cars (Ford Sierra Cosworth, anyone?).

I took the decision to go freelance in 2000 and have been there happily ever since.