The best (and worst) automotive April Fools' announcements
Everyone's a comedian on April 1st, even your favorite automaker.
Everyone's a comedian on April 1st. It's April Fools' Day, which means that the Internet is flooded with pranks, false announcements, and jokes as your favorite automakers' marketing departments get to cut loose and ham it up. Some are cleverly executed and well-thoughtout, like Google Maps' Pokemon finder metagame. Others, like Telsa's pet-driving cars announcement, frankly feel phoned in. For your LOL'ing pleasure, we've rounded up some of the best and worst car-related April Fools Day announcements below.
Toyota Aygo features Fun Sensor HUD
Over on Toyota's UK blog, the automaker has announced a new feature for the Toyota Aygo that adds a head-up display with a Fun Sensor. The Fun Sensor overlays a fun-score heat map onto pedestrians as they walk past the Aygo's front end. Lower scores indicate more boring people and ratings over 200 are awarded to more amusing passersby. Toyota doesn't indicate what you're supposed to do with this fictional tech, but it could make carpooling pretty interesting.
Honda #FitKit courts hipsters by making fun of hipsters
One of this year's more clever and auto-themed April Fools' pranks (and the only one that I actually laughed at) is Honda's Fit Kit, a DIY version of the 2015 Fit subcompact that is delivered via what looks like Amazon's drone delivery. Poking fun at hipsters, the Fit Kit would allow the owner to hand-craft their own car from thousands individually chosen components. Sort of like an Slow Movement version of the online configurator.
Opel, Mini celebrate Brazilian national football with special editions
Both Opel and Mini announced fake special editions themed around Brazilian soccer. The Mini Paceman GoalCooper has a rear hatch that doubles as an impromptu goal and mounts a small table soccer game on its center accessory rail. The Mini's rear storage area is lined with artificial turf, but Opel Astra Copacabana (shown above) takes things a bit further with seats upholstered with real grass from Rio de Janeiro's Macarana Stadium and footwells filled with sand from Copacabana beach. This Opel vehicle would even arrive with a certificate confirming the authenticity of the grass...if the car itself weren't just a joke.
It's a bit odd that two automakers would independently come up with such similarly themed pranks, but with the FIFA World Cup happening in Brazil this year, it's no surprise that a good deal of attention is being directed that way.
NYC to replace taxis with autonomous Google Cabs
New York's Inhabitat blog spins a yarn about NYC replacing its cabs with driverless Google Cabs that integrate with Android apps and the Google Plus social network. The tongue-in-cheek article describes the "Zipper" cars as efficient, self-sanitizing rides that are equipped with ATMs, food vending machines, and rear seat entertainment options. Now that I think about it, maybe this isn't such a bad idea.
Audi gets into the sushi biz in Japan
Run this page on on Audi's Japanese Web site through Google Translate and you'll find an announcement that the automaker is getting into the sushi business. When sent through the rough translation from latin characters to kanji and then pronounced aloud, Quattro -- the automaker's all-wheel-drive system -- becomes "kuwatoro." The joke is a play on "kuwatoro" and "toro" or fatty Bluefin tuna belly used in certain sushi recipes. Hilarious, right? No? I guess you had to be there. (Via Kotaku)
Mitsubishi kills the Lancer Evolution
Okay, so this last one is real news is not a joke, but, oh, how I wish it were. A report from Automotive News states that Mitsubishi is ending production of the legendary, giant-slaying Lancer Evolution sport compact and that there are no plans for a successor. The punchline is that the automaker is choosing to focus its efforts on more eco-friendly rides, which roughly translates to the disappointing i-MiEV golf cart, the delayed plug-in hybrid variant of the Outlander, and the 74-horsepower Mirage. Cue Mitsubishi's Suzuki-esque exit of the US market in 3, 2...