April 1st is the day when many companies around the world completely misunderstand the concept of creating something fake yet believable, and instead come out with something a little ‘wacky’ and offbeat. And the auto industry is no different. Here’s a round-up of the best (or worst, depending on your view) efforts from car makers in 2015.
There’s no doubt that Audi Japan knows their market. Although April Fools’ Day gags aren’t generally a part of Japanese culture, they are slowly but surely creeping into life in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Audi enthusiasts in the east were teased with the announcement of a special edition A8 luxury saloon known as the 5.5, which would feature a rice cooker. Audi Japan said that the new device, which honoured the rice-eating culture in Japan, could be controlled via a special touchscreen with multiple cooking options. Customers who bought the new model on April 1st would also be greeted by a special gift in the form of an Audi-branded rice paddle.
Top notch stuff from Audi. Though we imagine there may be a few confused and disappointed customers out there.
Vauxhall, meanwhile, know exactly what we want from a van – kebab making facilities. Think about it – when you’ve been on a night out and had one or two too many, you always want something to eat, the nastier the better.
Based on the nine seater Combi, the Vauxhall Taxi Kebabi (we love it) features two gas-powered spit rotisserie grills, arm rests with integrated salad bowls, chilli dispensers and a selection of tasty sauces. Taxi companies would make an absolute fortune.
According to Vauxhall spokesperson April Fulls: “With the launch of the Vivaro Taxi Kebabi, we really believe we’ve given our customers something to sink their teeth into.”
Just like their 5 Series Gran Turismo, BMW’s April Fool’s effort definitely slots into the category of ‘odd’ – rugby mouthguards in the shape of the iconic BMW grille.
Made from ‘ethylene-propylene-dien’ rubber (also used in BMW vehicle door seals), the new mouth-guard uses ‘tyre tread technology for extra grip’, while the BMW kidney grille acts as an ‘elegant respiration vent.’
Dr Uwe Gotobekidin, Head of Product Fabrication, said: “We wanted to develop something that could genuinely improve performance and help the face of rugby and we’ve loved getting our teeth into this unique opportunity to collaborate with the sport.”
That’s one expensive smile. Presumably it also increases aggression and overtaking abilities on the pitch.
Meanwhile, in the land of the Kiwis and Middle Earth, a somewhat different April Fool’s bluff in New Zealand made for one very happy woman. A BMW dealership in Auckland took out an ad on the front page of the New Zealand Herald, offering a brand new BMW to the first person who arrived at their gates with their car and the newspaper coupon. Although most people dismissed it as a joke, Tianna Marsh duly arrived at 5.30am with the coupon and her 15-year-old Nissan Avenir, which she swapped for a new BMW 1 Series with the licence plate NOF00L.
Lesson learned, people. Always believe everything.
The Škoda VisionC is a concept car from the Czech automaker, a four door coupé just like the Audi A5, and is apparently only available in bright green. Škoda announced yesterday that they would be branching out a little for their next concept in creating a sister vehicle for the VisionC: the Škoda VisionSea.
According to the company: “Under their growth strategy, the Czech car manufacturer, Škoda, has entered a new business sector. With the Škoda VisionSea’, the brand presents their first thoroughbred motor yacht. The spectacular water sport racer designed in Mladá Boleslav is sure to make the hearts of recreational boating fans beat faster!”
It seems, however, that Škoda’s attempt at April Fool’s flew over the heads of some motoring enthusiasts, and so it had to issue a second release the following day, saying: “Škoda does not have any plans to start manufacturing speed boats. The press release published on 1 April, announcing the launch of a ‘ Škoda VisionSea’ motor yacht was an April Fools’ joke. The carmaker would like to clarify this once again today.”
For those with a lengthy daily commute that leaves you in no mood for exercise when you finally arrive at home, Nissan have a brand new product for you.
Nissan Gym offers a ‘workout at the wheel’. Initially available in the X-Trail and Qashqai models, a push of a button turns off all of the driver assistance systems such as power steering and electric windows. It also increases resistance in the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals, and stiffens the gearbox. The result? An extra 1,415 calories burned per week on the average commute.
Nissan’s director of Customer Welfare, Dr. P. Taka said: “We take the health and wellbeing of our customers very seriously – after all, we want them to live longer and buy more cars. So we developed a system that helped them achieve it.”
Why does that name sound familiar?