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April Fools', car industry style

Tea reading: It might be crazy, but we can envisage starting our mornings with a quick cuppa for us, and a slightly larger cuppa for the car.

Who says car-making corporations don’t have a sense of humour?


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1 Apr 2014

IF YOU happened to forget today was the first of April, plenty of car-makers were there to give you a reminder.

Custom car-horns, sat-nav systems programmed to find the nearest pie shop, and the world’s fastest Vauxhall – or, for that matter, the world’s fast car of any stripe – all emerged out of the blue.

But as usual, the day of mirth was headlined by those mischievous Germans at BMW and Mini. The company has a fine tradition of making tongue-in-cheek bogus product announcements every year, and 2014 was no exception.

A Mini Paceman ‘GoalCooper’ with in-built astro-turf and a soccer net, anyone? The mock-up, which we hope hoodwinked some forgetful pundits, features ‘Danielson’ multi-coloured paint-job, astro-turf mats, ‘Mexican wave’ patterned seats and a goal-net, all of which is illuminated by stadium lights in the cabin to allow game-play after dark.

Meantime the second Mini, a brainchild of the company’s UK team, supposedly features a revolutionary new technology under the bonnet. Called the Cooper T, it is claimed to run on a bio-fuel refined from tea-leaves.

The cheeky blighters claim this beast, which “Eats Roads, Drinks Tea”, will reportedly travel 64 kilometers on one cup – further than some colleagues we know.

Put into a more familiar fuel-economy scale, that figure translates to consumption of around 0.5 litres per 100km, making the Mini Cooper T the most fuel efficient production car on the planet.

However, Mini has not said how much the new fuel will cost, so prohibitive prices at the bowser may limit the popularity of the new variant. Better pop out to Coles and see the price of Earl Grey this week...

Big brother BMW was not left out of the fun, announcing new technology to create the fun and sensation of negotiating twisty roads at speed while crawling along in traffic.

The ingenious Force Injection Booster (FIB) is supposedly an artificial G-force generator that induces the sensation of traveling at speed with mild electrical currents and kinetic energy from the engine (air).

These are channeled at the driver through the air vents – feel the wind in your hair in peak-hour! Interestingly, we became suspicious about BMW’s claims not because they were far-fetched, but because it was the first ever press release from the company confined to just one side of A4 paper.

While BMW might be one of the more prolific pranksters among the world’s car-makers, many other have been quick to get in on the fun too.

In the UK, Vaxhaull matched Mini’s Brazillian themed and grass-upholstered hatchback with its Astra Copacabana, which will crack 100km/h in an almost unbelievable 2.6 seconds – faster than a Nissan GT-R – despite its humble 1.6-litre engine.

Nissan might be drawn into getting its own back: remember, last year it announced the worlds fastest sandwich toaster.

Two of Europe’s French manufacturers had simultaneous FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) attacks, with Citroen launching a special Arsenal soccer team customised version of its forthcoming C4 Cactus, which uses a Geo Organised Away-day Location, Information & Entertainment interface – or G.O.A.L.I.E system – to track down the nearest pie-shop.

And finally, Peugeot had its cut of the cake announcing it would offer a system that allows customers to record their own horn sound or pick one from a library.

Don’t get too excited about the announcement of this new technology and glut of variants though. We are not entirely convinced they will be coming to Australia – or anywhere for that matter.

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