Never say the motor industry doesn’t have a sense of humour. It’s certainly something we will never be saying after reading this year’s crop of car company April Fool’s Day japes…
APR 03rd 2017
Six of the best and worst motoring April Fools
Dogs, emojis, Brexit, drones and family life are some of themes explored. Were we taken in by any of them? Here’s our review of six of the best (/worst) of them…
Serial jokers Skoda used April 1st to introduce a new service to go with the arrival in showrooms of its new family SUV, the seven-seat Kodiaq. It’s called Rent-A-Family. The idea is you go along for a test drive and, in order to appreciate as accurately as possible the new car’s family strengths, you choose various family members to go with you, provided by the dealership in case you don’t have yours to hand. You can choose between sulking teen, crying kids, grumpy gran and stressed mum. Optional is a travel-sick dog. All are provided at no charge but must be returned at the end of the test drive. It’s a bold initiative from the folks who last year gave us the dog umbrella.
They say: “Rent-A-Family aims to replicate a true-to-life family driving experience.”
We say: We thought test drives were meant to be pleasurable?
Skoda’s dog umbrella never did catch on but this just might: it’s the “Ultimate Drying Machine” from BMW. You know how dogs, specially if a bit damp, love to put their heads out of a speeding car’s window? Well, BMW’s new dDrive technology recreates all those wind-in-the-fur thrills in the safety of your own living room. It’s a dog’s basket in the shape of an i8 that uses a TwinPower turbo fan to blast air at the mutt so it thinks it’s in a speeding BMW with the window open, ears flapping wildly. Inevitably dDrive comes in Nappa leather, has four Eco, Pro, Comfort and Sport modes and is available in 12 different colours.
They say: “Pets can experience the exhilaration of the open road from the safety of their own basket.”
We say: BMW are barking up the wrong tree with this one.
Castle Combe Relocation
Down in the West Country, the finger is pointed firmly at Brexit as the reason behind the sensational news that Castle Combe is moving to the Orkney Isles. The picturesque and technically challenging circuit has been part of the motorsport landscape in this country for 65 years, but now in a three-year plan every bit of it, from Quarry corner and the Avon footbridge to the spectator banks, is moving 700 miles north to be recreated in exact detail near the town of Twatt (it says here) in the Orkneys.
They say: “We are making this move in response to the uncertainty generated in the wake of Brexit and the triggering of Article 50.”
We say: Maybe it’s all a cunning plan to boost their spectator numbers…
Hyundai Click to Fly
Hyundai has the well-known Click to Buy scheme but since April 1 it can back this up with Click to Fly, claimed to be the future of car delivery. The world’s first drone service for cars can pick up your new car and drop it off (not literally…) at your home within two hours, says Hyundai. Special fuel cell-powered Hy-Drones have been developed to do the heavy lifting. Four of them are required to deliver a two-tonne Santa Fe, flying at 190 knots for a maximum of two hours.
They say: “A ground-breaking world first for the automotive industry.”
We say: Actually we can see this taking off.
Honda, motor industry champion April Foolers 2016 with the innovative emoji number plates, is back this year with an equally imaginative new technology: one that uses the latest “swipe” control in order to find a perfect mate. H-Swipe is an in-car dating app that promises to deliver the perfect passenger – by allowing the driver to scroll through potential suitors, swiping them left or right on the digital windscreen with a flick of the Civic’s clap-hands wipers. We dare not ask what happens if you give a squirt with the washer fluid…
They say: “A unique in-car experience that helps drivers hit the accelerator in the realm of online dating.”
We say: Windscreen wipers and romance? We’re happy to give this one the flick.
MG Inter Car Emoji
Sorry might be the hardest word but at MG they are happy to put it up in LED lights: as one of 150 emoji symbols that can be electronically displayed in an MG’s front or rear screen. It doesn’t have to be a “sorry” face; it could just as easily be the rolling eyes one, a kiss, thumbs up, wink or something ruder to tell the middle lane hogger what you think of them. Voice recognition makes controlling what emoji is displayed easy and safe for the driver, says MG boffins who have named the system MICE (for MG Inter Car Emoji).
They say: “Developing the technology was relatively simple, as we found a handy step-by-step video on YouTube. Unfortunately, we did waste time looking at hilarious cat videos as well.”
We say: Stick with the cat videos.
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