If you haven’t got children (or immature work colleagues) it may have escaped your attention that today is April Fools’ Day. It’s not just your line manager getting in on the act, either, for today is traditionally when carmakers take to newspapers and social media channels to make spurious announcements and generally have one over on their followers.
What started as light-hearted jokes from a select few manufacturers has seemingly turned into a must-do, with most brands issuing their own pranks, some ingenious, some…not so much.
Below are our top-five automotive April Fools’ jokes for 2014.
BMW ‘Force Injection’ system
Normally kings of the April Fools’ Day gag, BMW chose this year to unveil its new Force Injection Booster (FIB) – designed to simulate the feeling of driving at high speeds, even when you’re crawling in traffic:
BMW’s new Force Injection Booster simulates the effects of spirited driving, even when commuting at slower speeds, to create a thrilling ride. When activated at speeds under 20mph, the Force Injection Booster (FIB) works by extracting kinetic energy from the car’s engine and converting it into positive g-forces. These are then channelled directly at the driver and passengers through the air conditioning vents, while a mild electric current is delivered through the front seats, to simulate the same exhilarating feeling of driving at high speed*.
This technology comes complete with the BMW AirNet®, the latest in hair protection technology, to ensure that occupant’s don’t have to compromise between personal style and driving performance.
Professor Mika Notbetr?, Head of BMW Innovation, describes FIB technology as “Mind-blowingly unbelievable”.
The Force Injection Booster will be available across the BMW range from 1 April, 2014. For more information on this optional feature please call 0800 093 6161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Face alteration is not permanent
Skoda Yeti Ice special edition
Skoda meanwhile has concentrated its efforts on creating a new finish for its Yeti crossover, sending its engineers deep into the Himalayas:
The Yeti Ice’s faux fur has numerous advantages over traditional paint, as its inventor, Dr Yu Ciddingme explains: “The fur is so thick and luxurious that during our tests in the arctic circle, our test drivers didn’t need to use the heater.”
The new model is based on the new Yeti and Yeti Outdoor launched in January and was developed under the code number 010414. All models will be built to order with owners able to choose from a number of personalisation options, including side-partings and fur extensions.
Owners will find that maintaining the Yeti Ice’s fur is easy thanks to standard specification that includes a lifetime supply of ?KODA-branded shampoo and conditioner, a comb and brush kit to preserve the well-groomed look.
Head of Special Developments, Prof Lukat Thedate said: “Everybody loves the new furry finish. People like to give it a hug and a tickle under the bumper.”
For those who would find the Yeti Ice’s faux fur to be impractical, models with more traditional paintwork finishes are available in ?KODA retailers across the country with prices starting from £16,600.
Mini Cooper T
Car manufacturers are always looking boost their green credentials with forays into sustainable mobility. Mini it seems, has cracked it with a new Tea powered model:
Enhancing the company’s sustainability credentials, MINI’s scientists, engineers and product designers have unveiled the new MINI Cooper T – the world’s first vehicle to be powered by a tea-leaf biofuel composite.
This revolutionary new model, which is available in a variety of colours including ‘Chamomile Yellow’, ‘Red Bush’ and ‘Earl Grey’, is expected to cause a real stir in the motor industry when it’s served up later this month.
Capable of covering up to 40 miles on a single cup, Cooper T certainly isn’t what you’d call thirsty. It boasts all the standard features you would expect, such as VVT, ABS and DSC, but also benefits from DAT or Dunk Avoidance Technology. This ingenious filtration system stops peckish owners and opportunistic passers-by from inserting biscuits into the MINI T’s fuel tank in order to moisten their snacks.
Head of Cooper T engineering, Dr. Ivana Kuppa, said, “This particular project has been brewing for years. Our extensive research has shown that the nation’s favourite drink is also an ideal biofuel. We already know good things come in small packages, but with Cooper T customers benefitting from up to 40 miles per cup, we are delighted to have the opportunity to bring this car to market.”
MINI customers in the Gloucestershire area can get a first taste of the Cooper T at MINI Cotswold Gloucester on 1 April, where the vehicle will be displayed.
Citroen C4 Cactus Arsenal edition
To highlight its partnership with Arsenal football club, Citroen unveiled a special edition version of its new C4 Cactus:
Limited to just 11 models and kitted out in the red, blue and gold shades of the Gunners’ iconic crest, the C4 Cactus Arsenal showcases new technology to help the Club’s most dedicated supporters follow their beloved team in comfort and style.
The integrated dashboard console will feature Citro?n’s new Geo Organised Away-day Location, Information & Entertainment interface, or G.O.A.L.I.E. The touchscreen system is preloaded with all of Arsenal’s away fixtures, including directions to the matches, a database of pie and mash vendors and a music playlist of rousing football anthems to sing along to.
Head of Citro?n UK’s Special Projects division, Joseph King commented; ‘We think Mr Wenger and the team will be delighted with this new special edition. As Official Automotive Partner to Arsenal, Citro?n is always looking for new ways of celebrating our relationship. With the new fan-focused in-car technology, we think this model is pitch-perfect for the dedicated Arsenal supporter.’
The C4 Cactus Arsenal will be available to order from all Citro?n showrooms later this year.*
*Except Citro?n Tottenham.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles: Paw-wheel-drive
VW has taken a different approach this year, teaming up with the RSPCA to teach dogs to drive:
Over the past two months, three mixed-breed dogs, Tulip, Jacob and Harry, have been taught to drive a Volkswagen Amarok by the animal welfare charity. Amazingly the dogs, which were trained at the Southridge RSPCA centre in Hertfordshire, have learned to control the brakes, gears and even the steering wheel.
The dogs, who sit upright on their haunches, were initially taught to steer using a wooden trolley pulled along with string. Mock car controls were then introduced before the dogs were trained to wear specially adapted safety harnesses and put behind the wheel of a 180PS four-wheel-drive Volkswagen Amarok.
The animals then spent hours practising their driving skills while sitting alongside a human instructor with access to dual controls. To allow the dogs to drive the real Amarok pick-up, their front paws rest on the steering wheel and the gearstick while their rear paws rest on purpose-built extension levers which are then attached to the accelerator and brake pedals.
Anna White, manager at the Southridge RSPCA centre, said: “We wanted to demonstrate how intelligent rescue animals can be.
“There is a real shortage of volunteer