Yes, it’s that time of year again, when we collectively groan at various attempts of hilarity from big companies. As ever, plenty of car firms are in on the act, and for once, there are a few half-decent efforts, but will any prove as controversial as Volkswagen’s gaff in 2021?
Take a look through these and pass your judgements in the comments.
Lightweight sports car builder Caterham’s contribution this April Fool’s day is the announcement of a new snack that requires some assembly. The DIY snack is geared towards its fan-base and ‘allows buyers to enjoy the pure, unalloyed exhilaration of ham, cheese and crackers’ and has touted the simplicity of its newest three-piece kit against its car-building kits which contain around 870 parts. A spokesperson for the brand announced that ‘a single 95g pack of Cater-ham can power a human being for 24 hours straight.’
The brand also announced an expansion of the new snack-kit to overseas markets in the future, including ham and brie for the French market, ham and gouda for Dutch consumers, and a USA edition of Cater-ham which comes with a mini can of artificially flavoured spray cheese. The cherry – or ham – on top of this gag is the product image of Caterham Seven-shaped ham and cheese crackers that a Caterham employee must have enjoyed spending at least an afternoon on photoshop putting together – good work!
This one may be a joke, but could Isuzu be onto something here? A super-short wheelbase pickup truck built for city streets, the Isuzu D-max Street boasts incredible manoeuvrability with its tiny turning circle and can fit in small parking spaces – handy for those who don’t want to give up their beloved pickup in a built-up area.
It may be too late to order one though, as Isuzu’s pint-sized pickup was supposedly only available to order until noon on the 1st of April and available ‘in any colour the customer chooses, provided it is blue.’ This one is a good effort, partly because the idea of a dinky Isuzu pickup is an interesting idea, although its short load bed won’t suit every trade.
Honda announced its new ‘Pet Co-Pilot’ front seats, which are designed to seat your furry friend up front with you, in response to statistics showing that around 59% of households now have a pet. In a tongue-in-cheek press release geared towards animal lovers, the brand announced that the first version will be a seat designed for your dog, with integrated water and food bowls, a built-in chew toy, and a snout-operated glove box treat dispenser.
The gag doesn’t end there, thanks to the tease of upcoming variants to accommodate cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and fish. It’s hard to imagine what these might look like, but the ‘multi-storey seat for gerbils’ following in spring 2023 is already highlighted in the Car Throttle office calendar.
Arguably one of the best ways to make a joke is by making fun of yourself, and this year Citroen has come in with a one-liner, tweeting a photo of their Citroen Ami electric car with the caption ‘we didn’t wait for April 1st to make jokes’, poking fun at the quirky quadricycle. Touché, Citroen, touché…
Even the manufacturers of the iconic London taxi are onboard this year. LEVC has announced a new edition of the ‘Hackney carriage’ in striking pink, purple, yellow and green livery, which they call ‘this season’s colours’. The gag is an amusing play on the fact the iconic black cab is always, well… black, but instead is covered in a nauseating array of clashing colours. Let’s also look past the fact that the true colour of London springtime is the same as any other season in the capital – grey.
OK, the hilarity did not quite ensue with this one, but LEVC at least deserves a pat on the back for joining in on the fun…
British charging point manufacturer Andersen EV announced its camouflage-capable wall-box charging, designed to disappear at the touch of a button through the Andersen Konnect+ app. It’s impressive tech, available for just £9,999. This one is more of a shameless plug (pun intended) for the brand’s high-end chargers, with Andersen mentioning that ‘when camouflage mode is turned off, customers can enjoy the original, high-end design of the Andersen wall box.’
In a topical jab at the ban on red diesel which came into effect from April 1st, ZapMap – a website dedicated to informing users of charging point locations for their EVs – jokingly added locations on its map for filling up on the fuel.
Red diesel is so called because it is taxed at a lower rate for agricultural vehicles and dyed red to make it easily recognisable. The law just changed for red diesel, and now its use will be much more limited than it was before. Many users will have to stick to cleaner alternatives like bio-diesel, so ZapMap’s jibe might come as a bit of a shock, and leave them a little charged.
April Fool’s Pranks from 2021
A lot of people will wish this one was true. Skoda said it had developed technology to monitor in-car singing by looking for “cabin noises that sit outside of set audible reference points,” then “digitally correcting” what it heard and playing the auto-tuned audio through the car’s sound system.
The company stated:
“This latest addition to ŠKODA’s digital entertainment offering is therefore sure to come to the rescue of drivers and passengers up and down the country, who suffer in silence next to those who believe they are the next Beyoncé or Rick Astley.” Chortle.
We had to talk about this one, despite it not really being an April Fool’s at all, since it was in March 2021 and all. Had Volkswagen of America waited until the actual day to announce its supposed name change to ‘Voltswagen’, few would have batted an eye, but instead, a press release dated 29 April was ‘accidentally’ published then deleted.
Company insiders cited by various high-profile US publications insisted it wasn’t a joke. It was taken so seriously that VW’s US shares rose by 16 per cent, although it told the Financial Times this “was not and is not the aim of the campaign”. The SEC refused to say whether or not it would be investigating the matter.
VW even put out an official press release confirming the change a day later, but given the timing and the lack of trademark filing, something still didn’t add up. Sure enough, that release was deleted only a few hours later, and VW admitted it was all a gag “in the spirit of April Fool’s Day”.
It was a bizarre move from a company trying to rebuild trust after telling some rather more serious fibs a few years back. Perhaps sensing that the public reaction wasn’t quite what it anticipated, VW apologised, saying: “We regret that the announcement rollout may have upset some people.”
Having had some experience getting in and out of narrow-bodied Caterham Sevens, this one we liked. Described as an “oil-based emollient designed to grease the user lightly in order to aid a quick and satisfying entry to the Seven’s driver and passenger seats,” the ‘Seven Lube’ was reportedly developed over 17 months by “world-class engineers”.
It was said to be priced at £7.77 (very good) for a tub, and could grease you up “over clothing” using only “a single, walnut-sized glob of the product”. We even got to see said tub, via a pretty decent Photoshop job.
Caterham CEO Graham Macdonald concluded: “We hope that, with this new product – which has been developed over the last 17 months by our world-class engineers – we can make getting in and out of a Seven just as easy as any mainstream vehicle. And still easier than a Kamaz truck, which requires you to climb a ladder.”
‘DUSTAR’ was described as “the world’s first (and only) affordable space programme,” offering “a new dawn in value-for-money space travel with its initial voyage confirmed for today”.
Having first seen the press release for this, we were expecting little more than a shoddy Photoshop job, but no - Dacia had seemingly gone to the effort of launching a weather balloon with a toy Duster hanging below. Admirable commitment to the gag.
We always appreciate it when manufacturers go to the trouble of inventing some pseudoscience for their April Fool’s, a box Alfa Romeo‘ Instagram-inspired window filters tick thanks to the mention of “cutting-edge electrochromic glass”.
Dubbed ‘Nuova Luce’ (New Light), the technology was, Alfa said, activated via the infotainment system on the Stelvio. No, we’re not sure why the poor Giulia missed out on the fun. Anyway, once enabled, Nuova Luce could reportedly take passengers on a journey through Italy’s most picturesque locales.
The choices included:
‘Roma’ – sunset hues with soft yellows and reds
‘Milano’ – the bright, crisp light of the Duomo
‘Torino’ – a peachy pallet, invoking the ancient architecture
‘Como’ – the rich blues and greens of sunlit water
‘Cinque Terre’ – the bold, high contrast colours of the Amalfi Coast