Which? is launching its flagship publication Which? Car as a newsstand title, for the first time in the consumer organisation’s 51-year history.
Which? Car, free to the organisation’s members, will be sold at supermarket chain Sainsbury’s for £3.99 from this month.
It marks a dramatic departure for the consumer charity, which predominantly aims to attract new subscribers via free mini-guides and trial offers, through direct-mail inserts and its website.
It says that the change in strategy has been prompted by a desire to give more consumers access to its research. The magazine will not carry advertising for other companies, as is the case with all Which? publications, because it aims to be independent.
Which? is a not-for-profit organisation, and says revenue raised from news-stand sales will go towards product testing and campaigns “for the benefit of all consumers”.
Which? Car editor Richard Headland says that the initiative will allow the magazine to be more widely read, and will also help increase the “general public’s awareness” of the organisation and its research across sectors. The magazine claims to carry data on almost 90,000 cars.
The consumer group also reports, tests and lobbies on various other sectors and issues, including travel and leisure, computers and the internet, audio-visual goods, food and drink, gardening and money.
It is not known whether newsstand launches are planned for its other magazines, such as Which? Holidays and Which? Computing.
Which? was previously known as the Consumers’ Association. It is the largest consumer organisation in the UK, with more than 650,000 members.