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BMW  Camp humour: Those fun-loving Germans have done it again with these great Mini camping accessories.

Camp humour: Those fun-loving Germans have done it again with these great Mini camping accessories.

Car-makers rise to the challenge of another April 1

THOSE crazy jokesters at BMW have had a great old time with April Fool’s Day this year, taking the cake with a series of media pranks to trump automotive rivals Skoda and Subaru.

Locally, BMW Australia placed full-page advertisements in a number of newspapers declaring that its cars would be exempt from the Luxury Car Tax because they were not cars but “ultimate driving machines”.

But their colleagues in the UK – inspired by BMW’s status as the official car of the London Olympics – upped the ante with a press release announcing the “driverless running coach” to help boost their fitness.

The release described how surround-view cameras combine with onboard computers to allow the car to follow a jogging owner, with exterior speakers playing words of encouragement and a Lock Out Logistics (LOL, in case you didn’t work it out) feature ensuring the runner does not stop before a pre-set distance is achieved.

Oh, yes, and the official spokesman is one Alvin Alaff from the company’s Futile Innovations division.

But head office in Munich proved the Germans are still the masters of this humour business with a stunning follow-up to last year’s excellent M3 Ute stunt.

A convincing release titled “Mini goes Camping” announced the latest innovations from the company’s British brand – a compact luxury caravan with all mod-cons and a foldaway roof-top tent, each designed to sleep two people.

While the release played a very straight bat, the impressive photos – which appear to be real, not PhotoShopped – provide the giveaway, with the cars carrying the number-plates HO AX 2012 and JO KE 2012.

Škoda Australia joined in the fun, announcing it was sponsoring Sydney’s famous ‘Coathanger’ in a groundbreaking deal that would see it renamed with the Škoda accent as the Šydney Harbour Bridge.

In a release issued by creative director “Fabia Superb”, the company said the bridge would fly Škoda flags instead of the Australian flag and display the company’s winged-arrow logo in neon lights on its famous arch, while Škoda drivers would be able to cross toll-free and bridge climbers would be transported in Yetis instead and having to walk.

Škoda Australia general manager Matthew Wiesner – a real person! – revealed his vision for total domination by the Czech brand.

“I have a dream that one day a Škoda will sit in the driveway of every home in Australia, and this sponsorship is the next step in realising that dream,” declared Herr Wiesner, without due recognition to Martin Luther King.

“Soon, every car on the Bradfield Highway will be a Škoda.”

Back in the UK, Subaru announced the release of the world’s first self-cleaning, as demonstrated through a video posted on YouTube showing the owner removing mud at the press of a button on the key fob.

According to company spokesman Ai Lai (geddit?): “Nanogenerators convert mechanical energy available in the environment into electrical energy, activating safe low-voltage electrical currents on the car’s outer body surface. These currents flow in precise, overlapping patterns to disturb and dissolve micro-attachments on the car’s metalwork, such as dirt and dust.”

British company HPI, which runs a used car history check service, took the opportunity to launch ‘Check for Singletons’ to help lonely hearts navigate the treacherous dating game.

It will establish if potential partners should be written-off, have outstanding debts, have been in trouble with the police or been around the block more times than they admit.

Finally, satellite-navigation company TomTom revealed the results of rigorous tests designed to stop children in cars from disturbing the driver with unnecessary crying and yelling.

After six months working with 300 baby and toddler volunteers, Project GAGA determined that the navigation voice of Darth Vader increases children’s happiness in the car by over 68 per cent.

Apparently they were less impressed with Yoda or even Homer Simpson. Go figure.


BMW  Camp humour: Those fun-loving Germans have done it again with these great Mini camping accessories.








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