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Automotive April Fools roundup
Car-makers let loose on gags, puns and crazy ideas to trick the world
2 Apr 2019
By TUNG NGUYEN
ANOTHER April means another round of fresh gags from car-makers around the world as they try and entertain with kooky, quirky and outright crazy automotive ideas.
This year’s efforts might be led by Toyota and Lexus (see separate story), but that has not stopped Land Rover, Skoda, Fiat, MG and Hyundai from also playing the fool.
SUV specialists Land Rover unveiled a new electric vehicle (EV) charging point in Scotland’s Isle of Skye, some 15 miles (24km) from the nearest road so drivers can also “take in the electrifying view” while juicing up their cars.
Dubbed “the most remote electric vehicle charging point in the UK”, the prank highlights Land Rover’s plug-in hybrid models that pair off-road capabilities with electrified powertrains, as well as the brand’s ambitions to have all new vehicles launched from next year with an electric option.
Meanwhile, Skoda is banking on everyone’s forgetful nature with the ProjectaPal LED lighting technology that will shine custom messages from the puddle lamps.
According to the Czech brand, “drivers can either link the system to their smartphone diaries via the infotainment system, or key in a specific reminder on the touchscreen”, while even an image of a person can be projected onto the road.
Skoda head of infotainment development Dr Ivor Tuchskreen (get it?) explained the genesis of the ProjectaPal idea.
“Every week, I forget to put my bins out for recycling,” he said. “Before ProjectaPal, I would tape a note to the interior door handle, but it would always fall off.
“Then I thought ‘why don’t I ask my Karoq to remind me instead?’ – and that’s when we started designing ProjectaPal.”
Not content with just one gag though, Skoda also revealed an option for its upcoming Scala small car to replace the brand’s rear hatch lettering with any word of your choosing.
Though the characters are limited to between three and nine, you could put your name – or even some sort of profane word – onto your new Scala to take vehicle customisation to the next level.
MG’s take on this year’s prank also involves a bit of vehicle personalisation in the form of a road-colouring tyre that ties into the Chinese-owned, UK brand’s ‘Colour the Road’ tagline.
Available for a limited time as standard on its MG3 hatchback, the special tyres will only bring a splash of colour to your morning commute temporarily though, as the effect is designed to fade away after a short amount of time.
MG professor of pigment Dr Gull Abel (ha) said the unique tyres will be a great way for drivers to express themselves.
“In this day and age, young people in particular are always looking for new and exciting ways to make a statement and leave their mark on the world,” he said.
“With these fantastic tyres, we’re taking personalisation options to a whole new level and allowing customers to show their true colours.”
Over at Fiat however, the Italian brand has turned to the cult-classic The Inbetweeners television show for inspiration for the Panda Hawaii special edition.
Paying homage to Simon’s Fiat Cinquecento, the Panda Hawaii edition sports a yellow exterior paint colour with a mismatched red door that comes pre-dented for authenticity to its source material.
With equipment including a 28kW 899cc overhead valve engine, black plastic bumpers and radio-cassette player, the Panda Hawaii also offers free insurance to first-time teenage drivers.
According to Fiat spokesperson Buffo D’Aprile, “the Panda Hawaii is perfect for young men as not only is it cheap to run, but it also attracts members of the opposite sex.
“What youngster wouldn’t want to be seen in such an iconic and classic vehicle? We’ve had a lot of interest and fully expect to sell all of them on the morning of their first day on sale, which is April 1st.”
Finally, our favourite prank this year comes from Hyundai and its N Roadster, which could take on the likes of the Mazda MX-5 and Abarth 124 Spyder.
Though just a series of renders, the hypothetical N-tuned drop top could make use of the i30 N’s bonkers 202kW/353Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which is certainly no joke.
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