Actin’ an April Fool: A Roundup of Automakers’ Pranks
Who’d have thought that most automakers, conservative in their business, would liven up a little for April Fool’s Day, one of the best holidays of the year? Some have better senses of humor than others; some are a little more plausible than others. We’ve gathered up automakers’ April Fool’s pranks, figuratively short-sheeting and whoopie cushioning the masses. Unfortunately, most are reasonably predictable.
Enter the Perma Grin: “The 2014 Camaro will not be offered with a speedometer. Instead, a thrillometer has been added. Please exercise caution.”
Last week at the New York Auto Show, Honda introduced its 2014 Odyssey with HondaVAC in when optioned with the Touring Elite package. That built-in vacuum cleaner wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke, although at first we thought it was. Then, we grew rather fond of the idea. HondaHAIR accessory hair-grooming tool falls firmly in the prank camp though. HondaHAIR attaches onto the end of HondaVAC for the “do-it-yourself mobile haircut movement, which can be seen on more than 6,500 Pinterest boards, 100 Facebook groups and thousands of YouTube videos.” We might have believed it if Honda didn’t list the head of its PR department as “Parsley Thyme,” a play on the real director’s name, Sage Marie.
Like the Honda press release, Mini’s seems borderline feasible. Called Connect Us, the idea is that Mini Connected analyzes driving inputs and matches drivers up for dates based on how they drive. “Get connected, get matched up, get dating,” says Mini, using data from Foursquare, Facebook, and RSS feeds. Ford’s Sync already has an app called BeCouply that helps make dates easier using much the same technology. And Mini’s PR people said on our last press drive with them that a few couples have gotten married after meeting at Mini Takes the States, its annual owners get-together. Weird, we know. But we live in odd times.
There are those who say the Japanese automakers make appliances on wheels. So what if Nissan actually made a real appliance. Enter: The Toaster-R. Zero to toasted in 2.9 seconds.
Satiating the desires of the enthusiast public at large, the Subaru BRZ has been a breakout success for the company. Yet, almost as soon as it hit dealerships, complaints rolled in: Give it more power. Make a convertible available. Give it a diesel engine. Make it more environmentally conscious. Give it all-wheel drive. Paint it brown.
So Subaru has “confirmed” an all-wheel-drive, turbocharged convertible version for 2015. “Having just launched the current model to widespread critical acclaim, we are tired of fighting off the constant speculation about what’s ‘next’ and so we are just giving in and delivering all the speculation in one vehicle,” said a spokesperson.
It will not, however, come with the “much-anticipated” rearview camera. Continues the press release: “The spokesman confirmed that after shoehorning two convertible switches (up and down) onto the fascia there just wasn’t room for any more instruments. The AWD Turbo Convertible two-seater Diesel Hybrid BRZ will come in a single color, noseeum black and will be hand produced at Subaru’s Brigadoon facility.”
Pedestrian safety technology is big in Europe. Here in the States, we’re generally cognizant that you shouldn’t walk into the street into oncoming traffic. As a response, Volvo has stated that it’s developing a new External Vehicle Protection (EnVeloP) system that cocoons the car in an airbag, making it a bit like those air-filled jumping pits you went into when you were a kid at the local fair. Sounds kinda fun, actually, pending you’re not too hurt by a car colliding into you at speed.
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By Jacob Brown