There are some surprisingly decent April Fool’s gags from the car industry this year and one that backfired spectacularly
Yes, it’s that time of year again, when we collectively groan at various attempts of hilarity from big companies. As ever, plenty of car firms are in on the act, but for once, there are a few half-decent efforts, as well as one which broke ‘the rules’ and turned into the week’s biggest automotive news story.
Take a look through these and pass your judgements in the comments.
A lot of people will wish this one was true. Skoda says it’s developed technology that monitors in-car singing by looking for “cabin noises that sit outside of set audible reference points,” then “digitally correcting” what it hears and playing the auto-tuned audio through the car’s sound system.
The company says:
“This latest addition to ŠKODA’s digital entertainment offering is therefore sure to come to the rescue of drivers and passengers up and down the country, who suffer in silence next to those who believe they are the next Beyoncé or Rick Astley.”
We had to talk about this one, despite it not really being an April Fool’s at all, since it was in March and all. Had Volkswagen of America waited until the actual day to announce its supposed name change to ‘Voltswagen’, few would have batted an eye, but instead, a press release dated 29 April was ‘accidentally’ published then deleted on Monday.
Company insiders cited by various high-profile US publications insisted it wasn’t a joke. It was taken so seriously that VW’s US shares rose by 16 per cent, although it told the Financial Times this “was not and is not the aim of the campaign”. The SEC refused to say whether or not it would be investigating the matter.
VW even put out an official press release confirming the change on Tuesday, but given the timing and the lack of trademark filing, something still didn’t add up. Sure enough, that release was deleted only a few hours later, and VW admitted it was all a gag “in the spirit of April Fool’s Day”.
It’s a bizarre move from a company trying to rebuild trust after telling some rather more serious fibs a few years ago. Perhaps sensing that the public reaction wasn’t quite what it anticipated, VW apologised, saying: “We regret that the announcement rollout may have upset some people.”
Caterham Seven Lube
Having had some experience getting in and out of narrow-bodied Caterham Sevens, this one we like. Described as an “oil-based emollient has been designed to grease the user lightly in order to aid a quick and satisfying entry to the Seven’s driver and passenger seats,” the ‘Seven Lube’ has apparently been developed over 17 months by “world-class engineers”.
It’s said to be priced at £7.77 (very good) for a tub, and can grease you up “over clothing” using only “a single, walnut-sized glob of the product”. We even get to see said tub, via a pretty decent Photoshop job.
Caterham CEO Graham Macdonald concludes:
“We hope that, with this new product – which has been developed over the last 17 months by our world-class engineers – we can make getting in and out of a Seven just as easy as any mainstream vehicle. And still easier than a Kamaz truck, which requires you to climb a ladder.”
‘DUSTAR’ is described as “the world’s first (and only) affordable space programme,” offering “a new dawn in value-for-money space travel with its initial voyage confirmed for today”.
Having first seen the press release for this, we were expecting little more than a shoddy Photoshop job, but no – Dacia seems to have gone to the effort of launching a weather balloon with a toy Duster hanging below. Admirable commitment to the gag.
Alfa Romeo window filters
We always appreciate it when manufacturers go to the trouble of inventing some pseudoscience for their April Fool’s, a box Alfa Romeo‘ Instagram-inspired window filters tick thanks to the mention of “cutting-edge electrochromic glass”.
Dubbed ‘Nuova Luce’ (New Light), the technology is, Alfa says, activated via the infotainment system on the Stelvio. No, we’re not sure why the poor Giulia misses out on the fun. Anyway, once enabled, Nuova Luce can take passengers on a journey through Italy’s most picturesque locales.
The choices are:
‘Roma’ – sunset hues with soft yellows and reds
‘Milano’ – the bright, crisp light of the Duomo
‘Torino’ – a peachy pallet, invoking the ancient architecture
‘Como’ – the rich blues and greens of sunlit water
‘Cinque Terre’ – the bold, high contrast colours of the Amalfi Coast
New Citroen SM
— Julien JODRY (@JJODRY) March 31, 2021
This one doesn’t come from a car company, rather from Auto Moto. The ‘scoop’ involves brand new Maserati MC20-based Citroen SM, for which the French publication has provided neat renders. How good does the MC20 look with wheel spats? We’re kind of sad this isn’t real.