Five Times The Automotive Industry April-Fooled Us

No one likes having the wool pulled over their eyes. Except, maybe, on one day of the year. Once a time for innocent jokes and little pranks, April Fools’ Day has become a huge event over recent years, with everyone from Google to Netflix, supermarkets and media outlets getting in on the act.

Car companies are among the worst - or best, depending on how you see it - when it comes to unleashing their mischievous sense of humour on us poor, unassuming motorists. Here, we take a look at five of our favourite pranks from some of the biggest names in the industry.

BMW’s rain-deflecting convertible

One of the stunts that started it all off, BMW announced in 1983 that their new 3 Series convertible was going to be able to keep drivers dry even in the rain or at a car wash. Despite lots of engineering jargon that seemed to back up the claim, it proved to be nothing but a hoax. Future BMW efforts would go on to include everything from their supposed Force Injection Booster to Magnetic Tow Technology and an M3 pickup. To be fair, it’s a pity that last one wasn’t put into production.

MINIMagic paint

Back in 2010, MINI put out a press release detailing their revolutionary new paint system. The theory was that the MINIMagic paint system would allow you to completely change the colour of your new MINI Clubman in just a few minutes, with the same effort needed to apply a single coat of wax. As outlandish as it sounds, the release managed to convince some media outlets to run stories on it, before they had to admit they’d been duped once the prank was uncovered.

Lexus Lane Valet

Lane hoggers beware. Although the idea of this sounds wonderful to anyone who’s ever been stuck behind a car going unbearably slowly on the inside lane of the motorway, unfortunately it turned out to be one of the best April Fools’ gags from 2018. Using vehicle-to-vehicle communication to stop you flashing your headlights or sitting on your horn, Lane Valet would instruct the car in front to change lanes via its own self-driving technology, leaving your path nice and clear.

Audi's downsizing assistant

Another effort from this year, Audi’s contribution to the most jovial day on the calendar seemed to solve a very real problem in a very unreal way. Even if you drive a MINI or a smart car, there are going to be times when you pull up at a parking space that's just too small for you to squeeze into. Well fear not, because your Audi can reduce its length by up to 15% thanks to some amazing new tech. They just need to figure out how to actually do it, now.

BMW giveaway

We finish where we started, with another of BMW’s many hilarious efforts. Except this time there’s a twist. In 2015, a BMW dealership in New Zealand took out an advert for an April Fools’ Day Special on the front page of a national newspaper. According to the ad, the first person to go to the dealership and ask for Tom could swap their old car for a brand-new BMW. While most people took it as a joke, one woman discovered to her joy that it was a double bluff, and she duly picked up the keys to a sparkling new 1 Series.