Best April Fools Day jokes by car companies

1 Apr, 2014 7:00am Steve Walker

April Fools’ Day comes but once a year and when it does even the big car brands get involved. These are their best April Fools’ jokes

Car manufacturers are giant, faceless corporate behemoths with a complete sense-of-humour bypass from the boardroom down, right? Well, yes and no. Sometimes a loose cannon in the PR department decides to show the human side of a global car brand and April Fools’ Day is a surprisingly popular time to do it.

Despite what you might have guessed, car manufacturers love an April Fools’ Day joke. Their pranks usually take the form of a spurious advert or press release about some unlikely new model or technology breakthrough.

These pun-laden flights of fancy then lie in wait for any unsuspecting person who's failed to check their calendar or consume the requisite gallon of coffee on April 1st morning.

There’s a cluster of new April Fools’ Day efforts from car companies every year and while some are scarcely worthy of the term 'joke', others live long in the memory. These are the best April Fools Day jokes from car companies, as wistfully remembered by the team at Auto Express...

Skoda’s hairy Yeti

Skoda introduced us to the Yeti Ice special edition for April Fools’ Day 2014. The car features a special faux fur finish developed by Skoda engineers working in the Himalayas.  The press release, which came complete with quotes from Skoda experts Dr Yu Ciddingme and Prof Lukat Thedate, explained that personalisation options including side partings and fur extensions are available. 

Red Bull F1 in race tweeting technology

Red Bull announced a new addition to its F1 steering wheel for April Fools’ Day 2014 – technology that would allow drivers to tweet during a race. Fittingly announced via the medium of Twitter, the new wheel was billed as the perfect way to let F1 drivers stay in touch with their fans. 

Vauxhall’s Brazilian World Cup Astra

Vauxhall has attempted to dupe the nation with a special edition Astra Copacabana tied-in with this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The footballer graphics on the flanks and giant Brazilian flag on the roof are just about believable. The turf-covered seats, sand-filled footwells and on-board cocktail vending machine inside, less so. 

Mazda's four-seater MX-5

The nippy little Mazda MX-5 can now be enjoyed by the whole family - thanks to Mazda's introduction of the four-seater version on April Fool's Day 2014. That extra-long wheelbase and extra weight shouldn't affect handling too much, right?

BMW’s Force Injection Booster

BMW’s Force Injection Booster

BMW announced a new system that puts the thrill back in to driving for April Fools Day 2014. It claimed that the Force Injection Booster works by “extracting kinetic energy from the car’s engine and converting it into positive g-forces”. The effect being that drivers can experience the thrill of high speed driving even at modest speeds of just 20mph.

Additional BMW ‘AirNet’ technology works to keep occupants hairdos in tiptop condition while all this is going on. In the press release Professor Mika Notbetrü, Head of BMW Innovation, described FIB technology as “Mind-blowingly unbelievable”.

ChipsAway’s dent repair app

According to smart repair specialists ChipsAway, you can now repair damage to your car's bodywork with their new mobile phone app. It’s the kind of technology that would put companies like ChipsAway out of business on a flash but it’s also an April Fools’ joke. Nice video though.

MINI’s Cooper T

MINI’s Cooper T

You’ve heard of the Cooper S and Cooper D MINI models, well MINI asked you to suspend disbelief to accommodate a Cooper T on April Fools’ Day 2014. It sounds plausible until you learned the car supposedly runs on tea.

Capable of covering 40 miles on a single cup and equipped with Dunk Avoidance Technology to prevent unscrupulous individuals from lowering biscuits into the fuel tank, the Cooper T was a tough one to swallow. 

Peugeot’s Audio Sonic Personalisation Programme for car horns

Peugeot announced a new personalisation option for its cars in April 1st 2014. The Audio Sonic Personalisation Programme for car horns invited customers to record their own sounds for their car’s horn that would “reflect their taste and character” so that “everyone can enjoy a truly individual horn”. An accompanying video showed the technology in action.

SEAT’s electro reflective’ exterior panel finish

SEAT’s electro reflective’ exterior panel finish

SEAT came over all James Bond with its 2008 April Fools’ Day joke. A press release revealed the manufacturer had developed a groundbreaking ‘electro reflective’ exterior panel finish that could adapt to mimic the car’s surroundings. There was no word on how owners would find their car again once they’d parked it.

Hyundai’s i10 Popemobile

Hyundai’s i10 Popemobile

Hyundai treated us to an unlikely modified version of its i10 city car in on April Fools Day 2009. The premise behind the i10 Special Project Popemobile was that the the head of the catholic church wanted to get around in something more environmentally-friendly than the usual armourplated SUVs.

The game was given away by Hyundai’s press release small print that claimed, “all leather from the seat facings was replaced with parts of tapestry woven by monks from the Indian city of Utta Bullacs”.

BMW’s M3 pick-up truck

BMW’s M3 pick-up truck front

When is an April Fools’ Day joke not an April Fools Day joke, When it’s a BMW M3 pick-up.

BMW lifted the lid on this 414bhp V8 ute based on its M3 Convertible in 2011, proudly announcing that there was enough space in the back for 20 golf bags!

We sniggered but it turned out that the M3 pick-up was real. It was subsequently spotted lapping the Nurburgring and, weighting 50kg less than an M3 Coupe, is said to be capable of 186mph.

Vauxhall’s Accelerator Pedal Retarding Intervention Lump

Vauxhall’s Accelerator Pedal Retarding Intervention Lump

In 2006 Vauxhall announced a neat optional extra for its Astra VXR hot hatch (on April 1st). The Accelerator Pedal Retarding Intervention Lump was a detachable chunk of the floor mat that sat underneath the throttle pedal and prevented drivers from giving it the full potatoes.

Vauxhall claimed that under extensive testing, the 'lump' reduced the VXR’s normal 6.2 second 0-62mph time to a far more stately and environmentally-friendly 14.06 seconds. Cheap but effective.

Kia KEE_Wii kills the steering wheel

Kia KEE_Wii

In 2008 Kia looked to capitalise on the success of the Nintendo Wii games console with a KEE_Wii concept car April Fools’ Day joke.

Kia said that the car had a portable controller instead of the conventional steering wheel and pedals. This enabled it to be driven from any of its four seats, even by the kids in the back. “It seems obvious to us that if children as young as eight can drift, rally and race their way to multiple world championships on a games console, then this new driving system will be simple enough for anyone to use,” said the blurb.

Coming from the manufacturer responsible for the cee’d and the pro_cee’d, nobody batted an eyelid at the KEE_Wii’s silly name but five-year-olds driving cars was a step too far.

Land Rover’s self-levelling tax disc

Land Rovers are known for the extreme unnatural angles they can achieve off-road without toppling over but, as we all know, that can present a huge problem for anyone wanting to read the car’s tax disc. This was the thinking behind Land Rover’s 2011 self-levelling tax disc joke.

The British brand even went to the trouble of creating a video of the launch of the pivoting tax-disc holder. In the film, it claimed that the device was designed by a Mr Joe King, of all people.

Kia’s Aero-Soul

Kia’s Aero-Soul front

Kia really pushed the Photoshop boat out in generating the images of its Aero-Soul April Fools' gag in 2009. The car was said to be modified with a new ‘Air Propulsion and Retardation Installation Line system’ that harness the power of the wind to save fuel.

SEAT Aero-Tonto wind turbine

SEAT Aero-Tonto wind turbine

SEAT probably put a lot of thought into its wind turbine-equipped Ibiza Ecomotive April Fools' effort in 2009 but little did they know that it was destined to be comprehensively overshadowed by Kia’s spectacular Aero-Soul.

The Aero-Tonto system is based on a similar false premise of harnessing the power of the wind to boost efficiency. SEAT claimed that the turbine on the roof generated enough energy to power the car’s high beam headlights at 24 mph. You wouldn’t want to take it through a car wash though.

BMW’s Political Roundel Attachment Tag

BMW’s Political Roundel Attachment Tag

As election fever gripped the country in 2010, BMW looked to cash in with a political April Fools’ Day effort. The Political Roundel Attachment Tag (PRAT) was an opportunity for BMW drivers to show their allegiance to a political party by changing the colours on their car’s badges.

Auto Windscreens prescription windscreen

Auto Windscreens prescription windscreen

It’s not just car manufacturers that like an April Fools’ Day prank. In 2010 Auto Windscreens revisited an old joke by announcing the world’s first prescription windscreen. There was even a mocked-up video and publicity shot featuring British Touring Car Driver Tom Chilton.

Tailored to the individual’s ophthalmic prescription the windscreen was created to eliminate the need for drivers to wear their glasses or contact lenses at the wheel. The Auto Windscreens press release even went so far as to claim that each screen came with a giant cleaning cloth.

BMW’s Magnetic Tow Technology

Another classic BMW April Fools joke was the 2009 announcement of Magnetic Tow Technology.

The system purported to use a magnetic field that would allow BMW drivers to creep up behind other traffic and latch on for a fuel-saving ride. “For once, we’re happy to be behind the competition,” said the tagline on BMW’s spoof ad.

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doesnt have to be april fools for car companys to tell us fibs really does it!! you have only to look at co2 and fuel consumption figures and for most cars they could have been written for april fools !!!! lol

Oh get over it you grump.

I remember a long time ago now before the McLaren F1 came out, they released an image of an F1 car in the Marlboro livery with headlights and proper wing mirrors attached, I've tried to find a picture of it ever since without success.

I think Audi have taken the idea behinds BMW's Magnetic Tow Technology and applied it as a standard feature of their cars that maintains 3ft from the car in front.

I enjoyed BMW's ad where they warned BMW owners to check their roundel-badge and if the blue/white quadrants were the wrong way round that they may have a 'fake Beamer"

I think £11,100 for a base VW Polo is the funniest. Laughed about it for the rest of the day.

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