- Apr 1, 2010
April Fools' Day: The celebration of getting duped, auto style
Yeah, you know what day it is. Ever since Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in 1392, the world has considered April 1st to be the day the gullible are tricked. Not surprisingly, even the normally staid suits at automakers take time out from their busy schedules to have some fun on April Fools' day. We've gathered together a list of some of the best prank press releases we've seen today and compiled them here for your viewing enjoyment.
Two of our favorites come from Bavaria. Both BMW and Mini got in on the fun today, with BMW releasing its new Political Roundel Attachment Tag (PRAT), "a highly stylised limited edition accessory of the BMW product portfolio and comes available in the colours of all major UK parties." These tags showed up "after boffins at BMW offered other award winning innovations such as Canine Repellant Alloy Protection that stopped dogs relieving themselves on customers' wheels, Magnetic Tow Technology, the ultimate in tailgating tech, and BMW Instant Messaging which let owners know what they really thought of other road users."
Mini, for its part, has just announced an innovative new MINIMagic paint system that allows "owners to change the exterior color of their vehicle as often as they change their mood." Professor Lirpa Loof, Head of Exterior Aesthetics and Paint Finishes at MINI USA, added: "MINIMagic will bring a whole new meaning to the concept of car cleaning and restoration. As easily carried out as a wash and a wipe, our owners can have a 'new' MINI Clubman that is capable of matching any atmosphere or any occasion."
But wait, there's more. Suzuki has announced its intent to enter stock car racing with its Kizashi Sport driven by none other than The King, Richard Petty and powered by an IntimiGixxer V8 engine made from two Hayabusa engines; Ron Dennis branded the $2 million Bugatti Veyron a "piece of junk" and Goodwood announced an "udderly electrifying" plan to power the Festival of Speed with cow methane (farts). How 'bout a replica of Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet from Hot Wheels?
Not to be outdone, Infiniti has announced its new Gastronomi technology (see above), which "will not only alert the driver of the need to stop for food but will also navigate the car to the nearest restaurant that suit's the driver's taste and pocket." The system detects "the sounds of borborygmi –tummy rumbles. If a pre-determined volume of rumbling is heard, a knife and fork symbol flashes up on the Connectiviti information screen and the driver is asked whether they wish to divert for a pit-stop."
More? Sure. PickupTrucks.com reports that the Ford Ranger has been granted an indefinite production run while also gaining a Harley-Davidson edition (look to the right). Auto windscreens will allow you to shed your glasses with its prescription windshields. The British AA plans to launch new patrols equipped with jet packs. Subaru offers to teach your dogs how to drive and the ALMS has added DeLorean to its racing series, powered by Mr. Fusion, of course.
Oh, and finally: Obama To Bailout USF1 Formula One Team, GM To Fund Team Until 2015. Click past the break for a bevy of foolishly funny press releases.
Soon Great Britain will be in the grip of election fever and as the public goes to the polls BMW has created a unique way for customers to personalise their cars depending on their political leanings. BMW's innovative Political Roundel Attachment Tag (PRAT) is a highly stylised limited edition accessory of the BMW product portfolio and comes available in the colours of all major UK parties.
Uwe Beanhadde, Head of Made-up Technology at BMW's renowned Forschungs und Innovationszentrum in Munich, said: "We have been working on this innovation for a number of years and see it as a niche with potentially wide appeal. One of the most popular features, sure to strike a cord with the floating voter, is that the roundel can be replaced in a matter of seconds should the opposition suddenly seem more appealing".
News of the PRAT accessory comes swiftly after boffins at BMW offered other award winning innovations such as Canine Repellant Alloy Protection that stopped dogs relieving themselves on customers' wheels, Magnetic Tow Technology, the ultimate in tailgating tech, and BMW Instant Messaging which let owners know what they really thought of other road users.
Further details on PRAT can be found by contacting 0800 561 0080 or emailing Uwe.Beanhadde@bmw.co.uk To find out more on real innovations visit www.bmw.co.uk/connecteddrive or www.bmw.co.uk/efficientdynamics
MINI TAKES AUTOMOBILE PERSONALIZATION TO A NEW LEVEL
* Revolutionary new paint system allows quick, unlimited exterior color changes on the new MINI
* Now owners can change paint color to match their mood – in minutes and as often as they like
* A fast, simple route to infinite MINI customization options
* The ultimate in automobile personalization will become available on the MINI Clubman
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – April 1, 2010... MINI, a leader in the manufacturing of customized vehicles in volume, is set to take automobile personalization to a whole new level with a revolutionary paint system that will allow owners to change the exterior color of their vehicle as often as they change their mood.
The ground-breaking MINIMagic paint system, exclusively available on MINI Clubman, will give MINI owners the chance to completely change their MINI's exterior color in only a few minutes and with just the effort required to apply a single coat of wax - a world first for an automotive manufacturer.
The MINIMagic paint system will be available with any of the Clubman's stunning paint colors, starting this spring.
"The introduction of MINIMagic on the MINI Clubman will transform the way owners select the exterior colors on a new MINI, and offers even more options to personalize a MINI to individual taste," said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA . "Gone are the days when our customers need to worry about whether they have made the right choice of paint color. With MINIMagic, if they change their mind altogether, or just want a brief transformation of their MINI for a few weeks, it can now be done as simply as changing a shirt or rinsing your hair from blonde to brunette!" he added.
The new, innovative range of MINIMagic paint finishes are first applied at the production facility in Oxford, United Kingdom, as the first stage in a two-part process. All it takes for the customer to activate an on-demand color change is a simple application of the second part of the process – a quick wipe over the painted surfaces with the patented MINIMagic paint polish. In minutes, the transformation – from Light Coffee to Cosmic Blue for example – can be completed.
The permanence of the color changes can be selected by the customer, with three different second-stage polishes available – one month, six months or permanent. If left alone, the one-month and six-month paint finishes eventually revert to the vehicle's original paint color, a process that happens in just a few hours at the end of the chosen period.
The MINI Clubman is one of the most customizable vehicles on the market with over 500 exterior and interior color and trim combinations possible, and even the facility to change the interior ambient lighting to match a mood or an occasion. With each individual package and options, it will be possible for customers to literally build a one-in-a-million MINI Clubman.
Professor Lirpa Loof, Head of Exterior Aesthetics and Paint Finishes at MINI USA, said: "MINIMagic will bring a whole new meaning to the concept of car cleaning and restoration. As easily carried out as a wash and a wipe, our owners can have a 'new' MINI Clubman that is capable of matching any atmosphere or any occasion."
The MINI Clubman, exhibiting some real 'MINIMagic', can be seen on the MINI display from April 1st during the New York Auto Show, held at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City.
INFINITI ANNOUNCES WORLD FIRST IN-CAR HUNGER MONITORING
ROLLE, Switzerland (April 1, 2010): Infiniti, the luxury automotive brand from Japan, has announced the development of new technology aimed at reducing the dangers of driving while hungry.
The system will not only alert the driver of the need to stop for food but will also navigate the car to the nearest restaurant that suit's the driver's taste and pocket. To be called Gastronomi, it could become an option on the all new Infiniti M performance luxury saloon which goes on sale across Europe from September.
Gastronomi employs three of Infiniti's current technologies: Connectiviti, Active Noise Control and Forest Air climate control. Active Noise Control donates one of its sensors mounted in the interior headlining and otherwise employed in monitoring road noise to detect the sounds of borborygmi –tummy rumbles. If a pre-determined volume of rumbling is heard, a knife and fork symbol flashes up on the Connectiviti information screen and the driver is asked whether they wish to divert for a pit-stop.
A selection of nearby restaurants can then be accessed from the Michelin Red Guide, already an integral part of Infiniti's Connectiviti infotainment system. Once a choice is selected, the HDD navigation system selects the quickest route and if a reservation is required, a telephone number is also given for the driver to connect to via Infiniti's standard Bluetooth telephone integration.
At this point, the Forest Air climate control system changes mode. The tropical borneol scent that is usually gently wafted throughout the cabin is replaced with the fragrance of truffle oil to ready the palette as the driver is navigated to their meal.
Gastronomi can be tailored further. There is a Fitness option which if selected first calculates the driver's ideal weight based on the memorised driving position. The driver is then asked to input their real weight and if it is higher than the theoretical weight, Gastronomi allows for louder tummy rumbles before suggesting a pit-stop. It also works in reverse if it considers the driver needs feeding up. Another, ahem, menu asks the driver to input their favoured cuisine and amount they want to pay for a meal and suggests restaurants accordingly from the Michelin Red Guide. Categories include Bistro, Gastropub, Flushed and On Expenses.
Infiniti's engineers have developed the technology after several years of research, and periods of starvation, in conjunction with the Narita Office for Subsistence and Health (NOSH) in Japan. The research showed the dangers of driving while hungry included reduced concentration brought on by daydreams about noodles as well as the risk of neck-strain, not to mention a frontal impact, while the driver looks into passing restaurants. The director of NOSH, I. Likecake-san, stopped between mouthfuls to say: "Gastronomi could be the most important development in [pauses to swallow] motoring since the cup holder [burps]. Is there any more rice?"
Infiniti's programme director for Gastronomi, Yumi Teppenyaki, was unfortunately out to lunch when asked for a comment.
GOODWOOD PUTS THE MOO INTO ITS NEW MOVING MOTOR SHOW
Following the recent announcement by Festival of Speed founder Lord March that Goodwood will this year introduce a new Manufacturers Preview Day, dubbed the Moving Motor Show – to be held on Thursday 1 July – he is today (1 April) able to confirm an innovative scheme to help lower man-made emission levels throughout the exhibition site, as well as the Festival of Speed itself (2-4 July).
To reduce the number of generators used on site, this year's event will be powered by natural methane gas, taken directly from Goodwood's extensive herd of Dairy Shorthorn cattle. This rare breed of cows usually supplies Goodwood's delicious organic milk and organic beef products. However, between 1-4 July, Goodwood's Dairy Shorthorn cattle herd will generate enough methane to power the entire Festival site.
Commenting on this eco-friendly initiative, a manufacturer's spokesperson said: "It's enlightening to see that Goodwood is taking no bull, and the organisers deserve a real pat on the back. This wind-powered solution is udderly electrifying."
Suzuki Announces Stock Car of Tomorrow: Kizashi Sport - Richard Petty Coming Out of Retirement for One-Time Ride
BREA, CA - April 1, 2010: To further gain familiarity with car buyers across the U.S., American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC) today announced its intent to establish and run a stock car racing team in North America. Suzuki's first contender in the 2011 season will be a modified version of its 2011 Kizashi Sport, which debuted (making a left turn) at the New York International Auto Show
earlier this week.
TheKing, Richard Petty, is reportedly set to drive in Suzuki's first race. Although Petty has been retired from active racing for many years, he felt that this is a great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, particularly since he doesn't have to honor any emotional commitment to the now defunct Pontiac
"Suzuki has a long and distinguished racing heritage in the U.S. with its motorcycle and ATV teams and now we can bring that expertise to the heart of America's top racing circuit," said Cole Trickle, ASMC's new stock car team crew chief. "The Kizashi Sport platform translates perfectly to U.S. racing and we hope to bring the expertise gained from our existing Swift Jr. WRC teams to the stock car world."
The Kizashi car-of-tomorrow prototype vehicle could be piloted by Suzuki Sport owner and Pikes Peak Hill Climb record holder Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima. This also could mark the debut of the rumored Suzuki V8 "IntimiGixxer" engine
. Comprised of two Hayabusa blocks, the V8 powertrain would be a first for Suzuki and could spearhead efforts to introduce the Suzuki brand to the U.S. luxury market.