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Honda haircut system, MINI dating app and other April Fools' absurdities

The car jokes are on us today, and some are actually believable.

By Clifford Atiyeh Apr 1, 2013 5:40AM
It's that time of year when public relations departments at major automakers can afford to be cheeky, and for that, we must recognize their efforts at attempting to fool the press.

In glancing over several fake emails, I had to wonder whether one titled "Tesla Model S Sales Exceed Targets" was also a ruse, but according to Tesla, it really isn't. Based on Tesla's financial performance, I'm still waiting for the punch line.

Here are a few stories that had us smirking this morning.

Subaru diesel hybrid AWD convertible BRZ

Subaru's PR folks are clearly tired of neither confirming nor denying every BRZ rumor that's been circulating since the car's successful launch, so "we are just giving in and delivering all the speculation in one vehicle," they said.

To that end, we really think a diesel hybrid all-wheel-drive convertible could be a fantastic production car, even if it'd actually be a fantastic way for Subaru to lose money. The BRZ, Scion FR-S and Toyota 86 -- three variants of the same car -- are brilliant machines as they are now, but real changes are coming. Think yes on the convertible and maybe for the hybrid. A convertible Toyota 86 concept (pictured above) was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show last month, and Subaru just unveiled its first hybrid powertrain on the XV Crosstrek at the New York Auto Show last week.

Volvo's whole-car airbag

This one was written and illustrated so seriously that I had to check in with Sweden. And yes, it's a joke.

But given Volvo's history of safety firsts and its hood-mounted airbag designed to cushion pedestrians, it didn't seem so far-fetched. A mount on the roof contains an airbag that is basically a giant balloon that can inflate around the entire flanks of the car.

"Instead of finding new areas inside the car where we could add more airbag-like safety systems, we asked ourselves: Why not cover the complete car in an airbag-like solution?" a Volvo engineer said in the statement.

In reality, it might be impossible to achieve an airbag that can inflate that quickly around a large area. But keep your eyes peeled. Volvo, which introduced the world's first side airbag in 1995, will likely include a second side "pre-crash" airbag that uses radar sensors to determine if an impact is unavoidable. That's not baloney.

Mini's Connect Us in-car dating app

This one was easy to spot, if only because MINI always does something crazy every April 1. Last year, they grafted the bow of a World War II military boat onto a Cooper and called it the Yachtsman. This time, they're using an in-car application that monitors your driving style and then proceeds to automatically hook you up with other MINI owners with similar throttle and braking inputs.

While MINI hasn't opened its app interface to third-party developers like Ford and General Motors have, the "Connect Us" app -- with Cupid arrows and formulaic dating proposals ripped out of -- could really work. Your car will even book a time with your blind date and then navigate you both to a preselected restaurant. Sure, this could open up a book of privacy concerns, and you'll look pretty pathetic explaining to people that your car set you up, but in the digital world, nothing is off-limits.

Honda's in-car barbershop

Honda wasn't joking last week when it announced an in-car vacuum would be standard on the top-level 2014 Odyssey minivan. I have to admit, an attachment that could turn the vacuum into a mobile barbershop is pretty good, although I wouldn't go near anyone welding the "HondaHAIR" system.

"We recognize that our Odyssey drivers are busier than ever, which is why we've packed the car with so many conveniences, including this HondaHAIR forward-thinking technology," said Parsley Thyme, head of Public Relations at American Honda.

Very nice, Honda, thank you, but no.

Mitsubishi debuts 74-horsepower car with 1990s styling in 2013

What, this is real?

Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Based in Boston, he is a senior news editor for MSN Autos, and contributes to The Boston Globe, Car and Driver, and other publications.

Apr 1, 2013 9:33AM
A friend of mine used to get haircuts with a Flowbee.  He used to refer to it as a Flow Job.  LOL!
Apr 1, 2013 10:02AM
I recently bought a new Audi a 10
That has the auto ejacultor . Its a great option after a hard days work
But having it cleaned a lot gets to be quite exspensive
Apr 1, 2013 8:01AM

A couple of years out of college I had a friend who did indeed cut his hair with a vacuum attachment called the Flowby (I think that was how it was spelled). Anyway, it had attachment combs like a set of clippers and you would turn on the vacuum which would get the blades going and pop this thing on you noggin and mow your head. It sucked up the hair that you had cut. I don't know if it is still made but find one and you are in business with your own mobile hair cutting salon.


Apr 3, 2013 2:22PM

if it was a hard top convertible diesel hybrid awd, then maaaybe


Apr 2, 2013 5:01AM
Anyone that would buy an Audi deserves something special, since their vehicles are not!
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