WERE YOU taken in this April Fools’ Day? Joining those mischievous tykes who glue pound coins to the pavement, pour salt in the sugar shakers and carefully place Clingfilm just below the toilet seat (apologies for the mental image) are the car companies who like to have a jolly jape too.
Driving has rounded up some of the best (or worst, depending on how high your standards are in the laughter department) April Fools’ from the car industry. From a one-man van to a gumshield developed using BMW door seals, they make a refreshing change from the usual, painfully corporate communications from car companies. Give yourself a painful kick in the behind if you fell for any of them earlier today.
BMW mouth guard
England rugby player Chris Robshaw lent his celebrity and his mouth to this campaign, which sees BMW’s famous badge plastered across a revolutionary mouth guard.
Each “cakehole defender” is made from ethylene-propylen-dien rubber, the standard protection in the door seals of all BMW models, says Dr Uwe Gotobekidin. Don’t expect to find this in your local sports equipment shop anytime soon…
The Czech marque claims the “ShadeChange” can change the hue of any body panel on the latest Fabia models at the touch of a button. Customers simply select an option from the infotainment system and voila! A Fabia that looks just like Simon’s battered Fiat Cinquecento from comedy series The Inbetweeners.
After careful calculation, the option has been priced at £500 when it goes on sale some time, er, not very soon.
Perhaps the funniest part is that this may be possible in the future, according to Frank Stephenson, McLaren’s head of design. By sending an electrical charge through an opaque photoluminescent material that could be used as body panels, you can choose from five or so colours, he told us in 2013.
Vauxhall Vivaro Taxi Kebabi
Of all the April Fool’s Day pranks played by the automotive industry, Vauxhall’s idea of a taxi that also provides delicious late night kebabs could be said to make some degree of sense – in city centres after about 11pm, perhaps.
According to Vauxhall, the Taxi Kebabi is based upon the 9-seat Combi minibus model, but features two gas-fired spit rotisserie grills, salad bowls integrated into the seats’ arm rests, chilli dispensers and a tasty selection of sauces for late-night revellers.
Despite receiving support from a pair of taxi drivers – Justin Trafik and Jason Donervan – who suggest it would go down a storm with customers, others are critical. Pieter Bred, the UK spokesman for Britain’s High Street Kebab Association, is quoted as saying “Without making a meal of this, the Vauxhall Taxi Kebabi could spell the end for high street kebab houses.” Shame.
Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Mini
Van drivers who grumble about traffic and how parking is becoming impossible these days can rejoice: Volkswagen’s Caddy Maxi Mini is here to save the day. At just 2.4 metres long, the proposed Caddy Maxi Mini concept is probably the smallest van to ever turn a wheel.
It’s so small, in fact, that it can only house one person and a toolbox in the back. Although Volkswagen’s clever advert did suggest that you could squeeze a whole labrador into the rear but only after the toolbox has been removed.
Unfortunately, the Caddy Maxi Mini will never grace a forecourt but the marketing exercise has cleverly informed all who read the advert that an all-new VW Caddy is on the way later this year. You learn something new everyday.
Nissan’s GYM function
If cars required more manhandling would drivers get fitter? That’s the question posed by Nissan, which believes that modern cars, with their power-assisted steering and electric windows, have taken the strain out of everyday driving leading to drivers piling on the pounds.
But by hitting the “GYM” button on the Nissan X-Trail and Qashqai SUV models, the steering has no power-assistance and the windows have to be wound up or down manually. It also increases the resistance in the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals and stiffens up the manual gearbox, increasing the exertion required to drive.
Like all other miracle weight-loss solutions, this is just another load of old cobblers.
Tesla unveils the Model W
Some stock traders may be ruing Tesla’s announcement of the Model W for April Fool’s Day. Although the “new” smartwatch was clearly a joke, it was sent out via Twitter five minutes before the close of trading on the New York Stock exchange and caused the company’s stock to rise by 0.75%, or $125m (£84m), according to reports. Some less careful traders clearly hadn’t bothered to check the ridiculous image accompanying the tweet before making a play for the electric car maker.
The Tesla joke appeared to be a parody of the recently-announced Apple Watch. It read: “Tesla today announced a whole new product line called the Model W. As many in the media predicted, it’s a watch. That’s what the “W” stands for. This is in no way a competitive response to what some other company is doing.”
Look out for Apple’s announcement about building electric cars on April 1, 2016.