WardsAuto Marks 100th Year

WardsAuto, one of the oldest continuously operating media outlets covering the auto industry, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

WardsAuto Staff

January 4, 2024

2 Min Read
Early yearbooks
Ward’s Automotive Yearbook launched in 1935, 11 years after company founded as Cram’s Report.

WardsAuto marks its 100th anniversary in 2024, making the outlet one of the oldest continuously operating media companies covering the auto industry.

“We are extremely proud to be going into our 100th year,” says Fiona Kyle, vice president for automotive. “It's incredible to look back on the past century in automotive and see how far we’ve come. From horses and buggies to electric and self-driving vehicles, it truly is a fascinating industry to be a part of. We are looking forward to the next 100!”

Throughout 2024, WardsAuto will be producing content, including articles and podcasts, to mark and acknowledge our 100th year, along with a centennial celebration during our AutoTech: Detroit event June 5-6.


Ward’s began publication as Cram’s Report in 1924 when the Ford Model T was the star and prime mover of the industry. Cram’s focused on providing stock market information covering many of the 700 automakers then in existence in the U.S. During the October 1929 stock market crash, Cram’s nearly ceased publication.Crams.jpg


Alfred H. Ward purchased Cram’s Report in 1935 and renamed the publication Ward’s Automotive Reports, adding Ward’s Automotive Yearbook in 1938 as a hardcover publication featuring annual news and statistical reviews. Both publications were built around automotive statistics and news – the core of WardsAuto’s industry coverage today.

Ward’s gathered automotive statistics, but when auto companies refused to supply production numbers, Ward and his reporters began stopping workers as they left the assembly plants, asking them how many cars they had built that day. Wards Intelligence carries on this business today, but without having to buttonhole production workers.

Ward remained with the company until 1964. He died in 1968.

The company also became known for monthly print magazines (Ward’s AutoWorld and Ward’s Dealer Business), twice-monthly newsletters (Ward’s Automotive International, Ward’s Engine and Vehicle Technology Update and Focus on China), and ultimately its two websites, WardsAuto and the subscription-based Wards Intelligence.


10 Best Honors

In addition, Wards has been long known for its annual Wards 10 Best Engines awards program launched in 1995 and amended in 2020 to Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems to acknowledge powertrains other than those based on internal-combustion engines. Wards introduced its 10 Best Interiors awards in 2005, added 10 Best UX (User Experience) awards in 2016 and combined the two in 2022.

Ward's was acquired by International Thomson Publishing in 1981 and sold to K-III (later Primedia) in 1990. Prism Business Media acquired Ward’s from Primedia in 2005. Penton merged with Prism in 2006. Penton was acquired by U.K.-based Informa in 2016.


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