Blog: Dave LeggettBMW Down Under April fool joke

Dave Leggett | 2 April 2003

From a BMW Australia press release issued April 1:

"MINI engineers in Oxford have solved parking problems in congested cities with a revolutionary new electronic traction system, the Vertical Parking Locator.

"Integrated into the existing ASC+T traction and stability system and linked to PDC -- MINI's sonar parking helper -- the world-first VPL allows MINI Coopers to be parked vertically against walls, thus saving substantial parking space.

"ASC+T-backed VPL gives MINIs sufficient traction to attain and maintain an erect parking position and to cling securely to the side of the designated building.

"All-but seamless in operation, VPL makes its presence felt via a subtle frisson of vibration as the traction system is activated. A warning jingle recorded by a string quartet in the key of G also sounds.

"Thanks to advanced anti-lock brake technology, even Heritage listed buildings can be used, as there is no chance of skid-marks accidentally marring their fragile facades.

"MINI Australia believes that 5500 extra parking spaces can be liberated across the country thanks to VPL.
"To be known as MINI Hang Outs, the location of the parking spaces will be downloaded into the on-board GPS-driven satnav and will guide drivers to the closest free spot.

"'Our briefs were to help solve inner city parking congestion and, without beating around the bush, we feel our boys have achieved that,' said the head of the VPL development team, Dr Hans Klami.

"'Our new Relative Stability Software, which forms the heart of VPL, has been tested rigorously under extreme conditions and we are sure our RSS is covered," he said.

"'MINI Hang Outs will be policed by former condominium window cleaners who will check dashboards for pre-paid parking tickets and may issue on-the-spot fines. They will be known as the MINI See-Thru Nickers,' Dr Klami said.

"'Without VPL there will always be questions, but when the VPL warning light is flashing, you can be sure,' Dr Klami said." In the note to editors at the bottom of the release comes the following advice:

"MINI VPL technology will be demonstrated for the months of April and May at the Woolworth's Building, George Street, Sydney as part of a national advertising campaign.

"Due to the expected high demand for this technology it will only be available to customers who order cars on 1 April 2003."


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