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Eight car-makers play the April fool

Fool me once: The Project Sparta monster truck is powered by the same 820kW 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 petrol engine as the Valkyrie AMR Pro hypercar.

Tesla files for bankruptcy, CR-V loses roof, Aston outs monster truck on April Fools


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2 Apr 2018

APRIL Fools Day serves as a yearly reminder of why it is important to take some things with a grain of salt, with the automotive industry delivering everything from the usual whacky ‘concepts’ to impromptu bankruptcy declarations.

Tesla offered up the latter after its co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, took to Twitter to announce that the electric-vehicle marque had succumbed to unavoidable financial pressures.

“Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt,” he said. “So bankrupt, you can’t believe it.”

Mr Musk was so disappointed in the outcome, he was found passed out against a Model 3 – which has been plagued by slow production and sparked speculation on Tesla’s long-term prospects – while surrounded by ‘Teslaquilla’ bottles – or not.

“There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them all, including Chapter 14 and a half (the worst one),” he added.

Honda went down a different route, showing off the CR-V Roadster concept, which has lost its roof, and B- and C-pillars in the name of open-air motoring – perfect for sunnier climates and completely useless in others.

“This is a bold new direction for the CR-V and opens up an entirely new non-existent market,” Honda UK future opportunity occupational lead Eipurirufuru (Japanese for April Fool) said.

“Our sales target is somewhat conservative to start with, at zero cars, but we are confident that once the minor glitches are ironed out, such as the lack of roof and the fact it is totally structurally unsound, the car will fly out of showrooms.”

Considering Honda intends to sell the Roadster for half the price of a regular CR-V – given it is just half the car – customers are in for a pretty good deal.

Seat took its Arona small SUV a step further, rolling out a special version, dubbed the Copper Edition, which is activated by a coin slot that exclusively accepts pennies – copper coins that are under threat from the UK Treasury.

“Research shows that some of our customers are understandably brassed off that copper coins could disappear forever, but here at Seat we’re convinced there’s a new lease of life to be had for these little bits of history as part of the workings of a cutting-edge, modern car,” Seat UK product manager Rhea Sonible-Price said.

“Although coin-driven, there’s no compromise on power, security or the Arona’s impressive driving ability. There really isn’t a better way to spend a penny when it comes to buying a new car.”

If pennies were to be scrapped, the UK would have more than 15 billion redundant copper coins, but Seat has shown their future is assured in the era of digital currencies.

Porsche continued to aggressively expand its pure-electric Mission E model line-up with the Tractor, a return to the German car-maker’s agricultural roots that follows the Cross Turismo high-riding wagon that broke cover at last month’s Geneva motor show.

Just like its siblings, the Tractor punches out more than 522kW of power, making it the fastest accelerating agricultural vehicle in the world yet, while emitting zero emissions and operating almost silently.

“Porsche is confident that the combination of tradition and innovation – and enough power to set a pretty good lap time on the Nordschleife – will make the Mission E Tractor a runaway sales success,” Porsche said in a statement.

Farmers will also be delighted by Porsche’s newly developed FastFarm smartphone application that provides 24-hour satellite-based weather updates and a mobile farmer’s forum.

Aston Martin arguably made the loudest statement, announcing its plans to enter the Monster Jam racing series with its one-off Project Sparta monster truck, which has been engineered alongside the upcoming DBX SUV.

Joining the US-based competition from 2019, Project Sparta is powered by the same 820kW 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 petrol engine as the recently-revealed Valkyrie AMR Pro hypercar.

“Winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans was a real thrill last year, but when I heard about this opportunity I just couldn’t say no,” Aston Martin Racing Works driver Darren Turner said.

“I hope the guys line up a great selection of cars for me to tear apart, because I’m sure this monster truck will really do the business.”

Named after the Ancient Greek province, which is famous for its battlefield warriors, Project Sparta will go toe-to-toe with the renowned Grave Digger, Big Kahuna, Ice Cream Man and Jailbird monster trucks.

Skoda looked towards solving some of the biggest problems facing families today, namely back-seat bickering and sibling squabbles, with its new noise-cancelling front seat headrests for the Karoq mid-size SUV.

Using QuarrelKancel technology, these innovative headrests feature built-in speakers that can be deployed with seconds of a fracas breaking out – either manually by the driver, or via an automatic mode that actively listens for the first signs of an argument.

When activated, “the (Canton) speakers generate unique sound waves that intelligently block out bickering but still allow parents to hear essential road noises, such as emergency sirens”, according to the Czech company.

“We’re the first manufacturer to offer an accessory this smart, and we think it will change the lives of many parents throughout the UK, we certainly might see fewer grey hairs,” Skoda chief of family relations Si Lence added.

MG Motor put forward its suggestion for an alternatively fuelled powertrain, with alpaca droppings to motivate its model line-up in an effort to reduce vehicle emissions and find a sustainable energy source.

The forward-thinking fuel is manufactured via a process called anaerobic digestion, during which microorganisms break down biodegradable material to produce pellets that can be used to power internal-combustion engines.

Alpaca droppings were chosen as they do not need to age before being transformed into a useable fuel, with the ZS small SUV set to be the first model to run on them, starting a revolution in the automotive industry.

“We have launched a pilot programme in the UK with the Faerie Tale alpaca farm in Kenilworth, and the initial results are very impressive,” MG Motor UK head of sales and marketing Daniel Gregorious said.

“We look forward to the day when people resign horsepower to the history books and refer to alpaca power. It really packs a punch.”

McLaren has shown the lengths it is willing to go to boost efficiency with confirmation that specially trained staff have been hired for a range of jobs, including daily monitoring of the water level in the lake outside of the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC).

Other teams are responsible for measuring each component of the MTC building, such as the floor tiles of the Boulevard, which are replaced if they do not measure up within 0.01mm.

Metronomic timing has been introduced to ensure staff move around the MTC complex more efficiently than before, while collisions have been eliminated at the same time.

Additionally, synchronised tea-drinking has also proven to result in significant time savings, providing employees with more time to drive McLaren’s next record year of sales.

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