Dog in car window

Our 5 top favourite April Fools by car companies

1st Apr, 2024

We love a good prank here at Scrap Car Network. We’ve covered one or two on the blog before actually – such as the joke by US president and notorious trickster Lyndon B Johnson, who liked to frighten visiting dignitaries with his amphicar. And every year on the 1st of April, just like the rest of us, car manufacturers like to have a little fun.

We’ve got more than 40 years of experience ourselves helping customers get the best price when they scrap their car – so we’ve seen a fair number of these efforts in our time. It was tough to make a shortlist, but after lots of discussion, here are our five top contenders.

BMW’s attractive new design

An ambitious (but to be clear, fictional) idea to kick us off with, courtesy German automaker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, better known by their catchier moniker of BMW. Now, Germany does have a totally legitimate reputation in the automotive industry as a country with a long history for innovation, but perhaps “magnetic tow technology” is pushing the limits of that credibility.

The MTT system involves BMW’s engineers granting its vehicles the ability to “latch on” to traffic using an electromagnetic beam – which would make them, arguably, the only “true” Beamers.


Developed in conjunction with NASA, who apparently have nothing better to do, the system projects this beam 20 metres in front of the BMW. Once a suitable “target car” has been identified (the press release doesn’t elaborate further on this rather ominous turn of phrase), the BMW driver can then feel free to take their foot off the accelerator. The towing car, we are assured, will not notice any change in manoeuvrability.

The BMW driver can then unlatch themselves at their leisure simply by depressing the clutch pedal to start their engine. A specialist in Kinetic Ride And Propulsion (KRAP) at BMW, Dr Noitt All, has suggested that you may even want to flash the car in front and give the other driver a friendly hand gesture to thank them for the free ride, although that rather raises the possibility that they may respond with one or two hand gestures of their own.

Dacia needs more space


Outer Space

Not to be outdone by the suggestion of NASA’s involvement, Romanian manufacturer Dacia apparently unveiled big plans for its Duster in 2023. Or, to give it its proper spacefaring name, the Dacia DUSTAR (capitals theirs). Now, it’s boldly going where no four-wheeled vehicle has gone before (except three LRVs and someone’s Tesla roadster, for some reason).

Proudly proclaimed as the world’s first affordable space venture, the company claimed the DUSTAR represented a new dawn in value-for-money space travel. In case you’re wondering, that quote is directly from the head of DUSTAR operations, named by the media as one Noel Armstrong.

Fictional he may be, but he is also the source of what is unquestionably our favourite standout line in the press collateral: “We are all about delivering best-value-for-money without compromising on quality. We have achieved this on Earth, so launching a car into space is the obvious next step.”

And yes, there’s footage of the launch. As they say, the dream is alive.

Nissan wants you to hit the GYM


Man sat in car

Biking to work? Not always appealing, is it? Well, Nissan’s highly unrealistic innovation may hold the answer. When you’re behind the wheel, it says, you could still easily burn 1415 extra calories per week on the average commute. (If you’re counting, that’s five and a half Big Macs.)

The secret? Well, there isn’t one, because it’s a made-up scenario. But if there was, it would be the GYM button.

“We take the health and wellbeing of our customers very seriously,” said the suspiciously-named Dr P Taka, Director of Customer Welfare, “as we want them to live longer and buy more cars. So, we developed a system to help them achieve it.”

Supposedly available in leading Nissan X Trail and Quasqai models, the idea is simple – this button turns off all driver assistance. That includes the power steering, and it also increases the resistance of the accelerator, brake, and clutch pedals, while stiffening up the gate of the gearbox. Suddenly, driving becomes a lot more exertion – giving you a proper workout at the wheel.

For context, lots of us probably don’t realise how much of the work that power steering does on our behalf these days. In the days before power steering though, it wasn’t unknown to compare the turning circles of most cars to “yachts and small boats”. So were someone to invent a button that turned that off – yeah, there’s no doubt that you would suddenly find driving a lot more tiring.


Man driving with red light effect

Personally, we find this one particularly fun for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because unlike spacefaring cars, the science to this one sounds sort of plausible, as long as you don’t look at it too closely. Exerting twice as much effort just to control your car would indeed probably make you at least a tiny bit fitter, although that 1415-cal statistic seems (to put it generously) a tiny bit dubious.

Secondly though, we love it because of how obviously, ludicrously unsafe it is. Drivers always need total control of their car in order to properly respond to developments on their road, so any kind of system that wrests control away from them would be anathema to any sane engineer. It’s one of those ones that you hear about and think “oh yeah, that’s quite a good idea actually!” before you consider it for more than about ten seconds and realise “oh no, it would be a complete disaster”.

In short, the real-world design of such a system would raise the very real possibility of a scenario in which your car’s wrapped around a lamppost, while next to it you’re blowing a zero on the breathalyser as you’re forced to explain to the nice officers that you were actually not the slightest bit merry, but rather just trying to get a bit more definition to your glutes.

Hyundai’s very special delivery

Drone flying in clear blue sky

You’ve heard of Click To Buy – but what about Click to Fly? In 2017, Hyundai told us they had that market pretty much cornered. When you buy a car from us, they said, you’ll be able to use our Click to Fly service to have your new ride delivered by specially developed “Hy-drones”. They had some quite impressive fictional delivery windows too – customers who ordered the express Click To Fly could expect to have their delivered to their driveway in less than two hours (although, of course, they couldn’t really).

As the story goes, the technology was supposedly suggested by one of Hyundai’s customers, Amelia Darhart. Working with “Amelia”, Hyundai developed the delivery drones with pioneering fuel cell technology, powered by hydrogen and emitting nothing but water vapour. We get it – when you’re creating an entirely imaginary service, you might as well go all-in on its carbon credentials, too.

Each new car will then be driven into, we quote, a “large delivery box” at the company’s Import Centre in Essex. (We’re enjoying how vague this particular detail is.) Then, presumably immediately afterwards, it’s ready to be flown anywhere in the UK. That will probably be a challenge in itself.

Now, you may note that a real marketing campaign would probably not have invoked the name of Amelia Earhart – though it’s true she had a very distinguished flying career behind her, she’s arguably equally famous for going missing midway through a trip, with people then wondering where she went for the following 80-odd years. (Not too dissimilar from some online ordering experiences, to be fair.)

Vintage plane with smiling pilot

Still, it’s easy to understand why so many onlookers still got sucked in to the ruse when you read one of the official statements accompanying it. We’ve reproduced it in part below:

“Following the success of our new website, Click to Buy, we’ve spent time listening to our customers. When I read Amelia Darhart’s feedback I thought to myself that we really should consider this. Then in the short space of just three months, Click to Fly was born.”

The author of that statement was one Tony Whitehorn. If you’re looking for the pun in that name, there isn’t one. He’s a real person, and at the time, he was their actual President and CEO.

Now, it’s worth noting that there’s a reason that car companies use names like Dr Noitt All, Noel Armstrong and P Taka for these stunts. It’s because there are, unfortunately, some pitfalls to using real people and real names to put out a fake story. And Volkswagen learned that lesson the hard way in 2021.

Volkswagen gets a nasty shock


Woman stressed at desk

This one is a bit different from the others, in that while the intent was the same, the joke definitely didn’t land. We actually covered the full story at the time, but to summarise it quickly:

  1. Volkswagen told the world that their US branch would be rebranding as Voltswagen of America, to highlight its electric vehicle offering
  2. Somewhat puzzled journalists around the world called the company’s US press office to do their due diligence. The company reconfirmed the news directly, multiple times
  3. Everyone reported it as fact
  4. Volkswagen was forced to admit it was an April Fool’s joke. Lots of people didn’t find it very funny

So, you’re probably wondering, how in the heck did that happen? Well, we don’t know for sure, but the suspicion is that someone accidentally published the joke press release a few days too early. Rather than admit the ruse and ruin their campaign, staffers at Volkswagen made the (possibly panicked) decision to run with it.

They even had official quotes ready, not from joke figures like Buzz Mighty or Betty Driveswun, but rather Scott Keogh and Kimberly Gardiner, respectively the president and CEO of Volkswagen America and their US marketing vice president. Journalists had every reason to believe the announcement was genuine.

It’s a bit of an understatement to say that people were not happy. One thing that our previous piece didn’t cover is that the whole episode absolutely tanked Volkswagen’s stock prices, which dropped 4% in the immediate wake of the incident. We’ll save you the maths – it was a lot of money.

And while it’s true that Volkswagen is still investing heavily in electric vehicles, the botched stunt sent waves of confusion through the stock market at large. People make investing decisions based on moves like this, which meant that Volkswagen found itself facing down the barrel of some big lawsuits from some very irritated investors. For the same reason, the stunt also drew the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which doesn’t look kindly on companies making false or misleading statements to investors.

So, yes. As marketing stunts go, it went wrong quite spectacularly in almost every conceivable way. Still, you can’t say it wasn’t memorable – and for that reason alone, we’d be remiss not to put it amongst our top five.

Now, your own car may not be soaring the skies, shooting through space, or even mysteriously magnetised. But rest assured that when you come to finally wave goodbye, we’ll be here to get you the very best prices right here at Scrap Car Network. You can get a free online quote by simply entering your registration and postcode on our website into the fields on our site, and we’ll have your scrap car quote to you in seconds.

So then… curious to find out how much your car is worth?

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