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Auto brands fill up with April fuel

Sticky situation: Lexus' optional RC F seats actually fix occupants in place with a special V-LCRO technology suit.

2016 April fools gags show car-makers' playful side


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1 Apr 2016

YES, it is that time of year again when the car-makers of the world let their hair down and attempt to pull the wool over our eyes with a series of outlandish April fools gags, but as the fable goes if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Peugeot and Citroen customers who are worried about bending their precious French body work with stray wildlife can have new “animal deterring technology” retrofitted to any model, which repels animals away from the car at speeds exceeding 50km/h.

Dubbed the Bugger Roo in Australian markets and Sheep Shoo in New Zealand, the system is simply fitted behind a headlamp and emits a focused beam of sounds that animals find unpleasant, unlike the Citroen 2CV which produced sounds that humans found unpleasant.

No amount of searching could turn up any record of Peugeot and Citroen technical and training manager Sii Lee Yu, who reportedly said: “To develop a device that has the potential to reduce harm to vehicle occupants and animals was a rewarding task.”

Lexus had a pop at the public with its new Variable Load Coupling Rear Orientation System or V-LCRO for the RC-F coupe, which offers driver support in fast corners with which “no side bolster can compete”.

The system uses a special upholstery fitted to the seat, which actually temporarily adheres to the driver, keeping them in place during even high-G manoeuvres, in much the same way as, well, Velcro might.

Unfortunately the driver must wear a specially tailored suit made using the other half of the special fabric, which is likely to be a pricey extra from the Lexus options list.

Nissan is offering to help its single customers find love with the N-Connect application, which alerts the driver if another nearby Nissan is also occupied by a single person.

Hitting the heart symbol on the touchscreen allows the potential couple to make contact and after that Nissan says: “The rest is up to you...” which gives a whole new meaning to the term P-to-P connectivity.

Ford's contribution to the April fooling joins the growing number of “wearables” that increasingly connect humans to their devices and the internet.

In this case, the MoodTech band connects the driver to Ford's Sync2 and Sync3 system and relays information about the driver's mood to the car.

The system was home-grown at the Broadmeadows development centre and collects information, such as body temperature, heart rate, eye movement Karaoke Ions and a registered trademark dubbed Mood-Ions, to alter the cabin ambience and vehicle settings before the driver realises. By making the subtle changes, a driver's mood can be maintained or altered for the better, says Ford.

“We were inspired by the boom of autonomous technology and personal fitness devices, combining them to create an experience like no other seemed like the perfect fit,” said Ford Australia future technology team leader Jim Sweat, who is another employee we struggled to find any record of.

“For us, driver and passenger safety and comfort is at the forefront, driven by our Go Further mantra to innovate the way we move.”

Overseas, Vauxhall took the prize for the most unconvincing April fool with a clockwork version of its Adam compact hatchback, which can travel for up to 200km of zero emissions-free motoring on a single wind-up and costs nothing. We think we can see who is being wound up here.

The British brand says that the winding has a beneficial by-product of providing a “cardio and strength workout” but after many occasions pushing broken Vauxhalls belonging to friends at university, the author is not convinced the concept is so new to the brand.

Even a handful of Australian automotive publications followed the lead of car-makers and took the opportunity to spin some far fetched yarns of their own, but GoAuto readers can rest assured that what they see at GoAuto.com.au is only ever the truth.

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