Convoy of top motoring titles heads south as Bauer continues overhaul

Australia's leading motoring magazines are being driven to Melbourne.

Australia's leading motoring magazines are being driven to Melbourne.

Bauer Media's chief executive Matthew Stanton informed staff on Tuesday that seven of the country's most popular motoring titles would be relocated from their Goulburn Street offices in Sydney's central business district to its Trader Media Group branch in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh within the next two months.

One source indicated Bauer was packaging the motoring titles within the Trader group to boost its position before a potential sale.

The move is headlined by the relocation of its flagship automotive publication Wheels, which has been based in Sydney since its inception 60 years ago.

It will be joined by performance car title Motor, modified car magazine Street Machine, off-road title 4x4 Australia, weekly motor-racing newspaper Auto Action and motorcycle magazines Australian Motorcycle News and Australian Dirt Bike.

Germany's Bauer acquired Australia's largest magazine publisher, ACP, from Nine Entertainment last year.

It has already set about overhauling the magazine portfolio, which includes popular titles such as Australian Women's Weekly.

The move will also lead to the titles being managed directly by Bauer Trader Group, which produces classified-based publications such as Unique Cars, Trade-a-Boat and Motorcycle Trader.

The only motoring title that will remain directly under the Bauer Media umbrella - and will not relocate to Melbourne - is Top Gear Australia, which is a joint-venture operation between Bauer and the BBC.

Fairfax Media understands that all staff - believed to be upwards of 35 - have been offered the opportunity to relocate to Melbourne or take a severance package.

Affected staff have been given a week to decide which option to take.

However, the relocation is likely to result in significant attrition rates with most staff members entrenched in Sydney with family.

It is understood Bauer has no plans to close any of the seven titles and the move is designed to reduce the costly overheads of inner-city office space.

But there are seemingly no guarantees, with reports that Bauer sold Australian Mountain Bike magazine to Next Media last week.

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