There was much cursing in foreign-sounding languages at today’s Los Angeles Auto Show after formerly-British automaker MINI realized they had revealed the wrong car to the press.
“Our plan was to introduce the all-new third-generation MINI Cooper to the assembled journalists,” said MINI mini-spokesperson Nathalie Bathhouse, “but it appears that the car we put on stage was actually the second-generation model. Or maybe the first-gen. To be honest, we have a little trouble telling them apart ourselves.”
Bathhouse said the mistake was discovered shortly after the reveal, when a blogger no one had ever heard of asked why the new MINI’s turbocharged three-cylinder engine looked so much like a supercharged four-cylinder.
A search immediately ensued to find the third-generation MINI that was supposed to be revealed at the show. After several frantic phone calls, MINI staffers discovered that it was in the possession of by Gladys Carpfarter, a 67-year-old retired teacher from Pasadena, California. Bathhouse said the mix-up apparently occurred after one of the show cars was sent to the dealership for a preview last week.
“I went to pick up my car from the MINI dealership after having the oil changed,” Ms. Carpfarter told Autoblopnik. “I thought it was quite a bit cleaner than usual, but I never even guessed I had the wrong car until I opened the glovebox and discovered my Koupon Keeper was missing, along with my Glock G19.”
An attempt was made to return the show car to Mrs. Carpfarter, but a check of the VIN revealed that the vehicle from the L.A. show was actually a 2008 MINI Cooper S belonging to Bill Keeldover, a demolition accounting student from Azusa. Keeldover was driving a 2005 Cooper belonging to Fannie Slapper, a licensed poet from Bellflower, who turned out to be in possession of a 2010 Cooper S owned by William Schitzmore, an unemployed employment counselor from North Hollywood, who was driving Mrs. Carpfarter’s first-generation Cooper.
None of the affected owners realized they had someone else’s MINI.
“Obviously, we’re very embarrassed and want to be sure this doesn’t happen again,” said MINI spokesmini Bathhouse. “We’re very fortunate that of the hundreds of journalists who witnessed the unveiling, not a single one of them realized we were showing them the wrong car.”
Immediately after revealing the 2014 Jeep Cherokee at this week’s New York Auto Show, Chrysler’s public relations staff set about assuring the media that the new compact SUV isn’t as ugly as they think it is.
“We realize that at first glance, the Jeep Cherokee does appear rather ugly,” said Todd Gayer, head of Jeep communications. “But the truth is that it really isn’t as ugly as most people think it is. Is the new Cherokee an attractive vehicle? No, not by a country mile. Is it ugly? Of course it is. Very ugly. Uglier than a monkey’s armpit. Uglier than a sack of assholes. But is it as ugly everyone thinks it is? No, it most certainly is not.”
Members of the automotive media attending the New York show expressed immediate relief upon Chrysler’s assurances that the new Cherokee is not as ugly as they think it is.
“I thought the thing was fucking hideous,” said Jonny Liebersteinowitzenbaumowitz of Moat Trend magazine. “It looks like something you’d see on the cover of Weekly World News under the headline ‘Bat Boy Alive and Well in New Jersey!’ That’s why it felt like a tremendous weight had been taken off my shoulders when Chrysler told me personally that the Cherokee is not as ugly as I think it is.”
“I’ll admit, my first reaction was not all that positive,” said Jablopnik correspondent Matt Hadtapee, who in his article referred to the new Cherokee as “a bit like a Nissan Juke” and “the most horrifying thing I have seen since the time I walked in on my grandparents having sex.”
“I wasn’t swayed by Chrysler’s repeated insistance that the Cherokee is ‘more than its exterior styling,’ and Ralph Gilles’ comment that the Cherokee is ‘very contemporary’ just didn’t ring true. That’s why I’m so glad that Chrysler has assured my colleagues and I that the new Cherokee isn’t nearly as ugly as we all think it is. How can you argue with that?”
Jeep’s Gayer tells Autoblopnik that the next step is to assure the public that the Cherokee is not as ugly as they think it is, which will be accomplished with an ad campaign entitled “Cherokee 2014: It’s Not As Ugly As You Think It Is.”
“The ad blitz will include television, radio, newspapers and popular web sites,” explained Jeep marketing chief Jim “No Not That Jim Morrison” Morrison, “and will feature real-live Chrysler employees explaining, in plain language that the average American can understand, that the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is not as ugly as they think it is.”
“We felt we needed to build a relationship with the media and our customers based on honesty,” Gayer continued. “We’re not going to pretend the Cherokee isn’t the ugliest vehicle since the Aztek, because it is. We won’t even deny that Don Doofamante tried to snap an early photo of it and turned to stone. That’s the first time we’ve needed a hand truck to kick him out of an auto show. But the honest truth is that the 2014 Jeep Cherokee isn’t as ugly as you think it is.”
“Besides,” he added, “Wait until you see the new Dodge van. That thing really is as ugly as you think it is.”
Volvo plans to take a second attempt at unveiling the facelifted S60, XC60 and XC70 in New York after an unveiling at the Geneva show failed to garner any attention.
“I’m not sure why the media didn’t realize the cars were any different,” said Volvo spokeschanger Jean O. Effluent. “These are the most extensive and radical changes we’ve made to our cars in four years.” All three of the cars have been unchanged since 2009, and Effluent himself has not changed since 1992.
“The S60 is the most extensive and radically changed member of the Volvo family,” explained Effluent. “The headlights are a slightly different shape, and one of the trim pieces near the fog lights that used to be body color is now chrome. Or maybe it used to be chrome and now it’s body color. I’ll have to check on that, but my point is that it’s different. Radically different. And extensive.”
Effluent went on to explain the changes to the crossovers, which, he says, include “taking the shiny metal bit from under the XC70′s grille and putting it on the XC60, and taking the XC60′s fog light trim and putting it on the XC70. We’ve also de-chromed the front end of the XC60. That wasn’t planned, all the chrome bits actually fell off when we were shipping the car to Geneva, but we liked the way it looked so we left it that way.”
Inside, all three cars received what Effluent described as “extensive and radical” changes. “I think we did something with the trim… painted it another color or something. And the steering wheel might be a little different. I mean radically different. Sorry… you know, after you’ve been doing this as long as I have, the cars all start to look alike, really.”
Volvo introduced an all-new V40 in Geneva, a radical hatchback with eye-catching styling and a futuristic interior with a center-mounted gauge cluster, but Effluent says that car will not be sold in the US.
“No question, the new V40 is Volvo’s best car and the US is our biggest market,” he explained, “but the Swedes are pissed at us because we keep mixing them up with the Swiss. They really know how to hold a grudge, those guys. Neutral, my ass.”
Volvo will also re-introduce several new technologies at the New York Show, including the Permanent High Beam system, which leaves the high beams on all the time because, as Effluent explains, “Volvo drivers are idiots who do that sort of thing all the time.” The company will also take the wraps off the World Safety System, which uses a broadband Internet connection to scan the headlines, then decides that the world is simply too dangerous to go wandering around and disables the engine.
Organizers of the Detroit Auto Show said the show will move to Florida for 2014.
“The Detroit Auto Show is now in its 105th year,” said show spokesman Larry Naias, “and the cold and snow are really getting to be a problem. Given the show’s advanced age, moving it to a warmer environment is the only sensible decision. If the Detroit Auto Show were to slip on the ice and break its hip, it could be out of commission for a while, and the Chicago Auto Show is just waiting for an opportunity to step in and take over. We can’t risk that happening.”
Asked if moving the show away from the automotive manufacturing capital of the United States was a wise idea, Naias said he wasn’t concerned.
“Sure, the show attracts a lot of Detroit residents,” he said, “but it’s not like anyone from Michigan is going to complain about going to Florida in the middle of January.”
Naias said the show’s organizers considered moving the show to Arizona, where the costs would be significantly lower, but ruled out the desert state “because it’s in the middle of fucking nowhere and the people are batshit insane.”
“Moving to Florida will make it easier for the Detroit Auto Show to host attendees in January,” he explained, “and it can spend the rest of the year relaxing and playing golf.”
© Autoblopnik — Photo by Paul Sancya/Associated Press, not exactly used with permission
As the 2013 Detroit Auto Show comes to a close, it appears that the show may finally be having the desired effect of convincing Detroit residents to buy foreign cars.
“I’ve owned Chevrolets all my life,” Chase Takashowa, a life-long Detroit resident, told Autoblopnik. “So did my daddy, and so did my daddy’s daddy. Never liked them little Jap shitboxes, not one bit. But after seeing Nissan’s new display stand at the Detroit Auto Show, I’m thinking maybe I’ve been wrong. That new Versa Note is a hell of a car.”
By some estimates*, upwards of 92% of Michigan residents buy American cars, and many** have questioned whether the high cost of a stand at the Detroit show is a worthwhile investment for foreign automakers.
* Ours ** Us and some other people
“Detroit is a tough market to crack,” said Toyota spokescracker Ming-Joe Tetherton. “We’ve been showing cars here for decades, spending millions of dollars and to little effect. But I think 2013 is the year we will finally make some inroads.”
Gil Chesterton, an assembly-line worker at Ford’s Wayne Stamping plant, agrees. “I used to think the Nips were here just to steal our jobs, buy up our real estate, and take over our country,” he said. “But the fact that Toyota chose to reveal the Corolla Furia here rather than in Liberalifornia, well, that makes me wonder if perhaps I’ve judged those little yellow motherfuckers too harshly.”
Jehanne Austen of Flint agrees that the Detroit show could be the key to the hearts and minds of Michiganders.
“My family was devastated by the so-called ‘Japanese Invasion,’” she said. “My father lost his job when GM closed the Buick City plant. He committed suicide by beating himself to death with his own shoe. My mother and my youngest brother had to work as prostitutes to feed our family. After what they did to us, I swore I’d never even sit in a Japanese car as long as I lived. But this year’s Detroit show changed my mind. Did you see that new Honda Urban SUV concept? I want one of those!”
Acura has confirmed that the two NSX concept vehicles shown at the 2012 and 2013 Detroit auto shows are just the beginning of an excruciating number of show car unveilings that we will be forced to sit through before they finally show the production version.
“Think of it as a sort of striptease,” said Acura spokesteaser Parsley Thyme, “Only the stripper is a poor woman who can’t afford a proper winter coat, so she has to wear a whole lot of layers. We’ve seen her hat and windbreaker come off, but she still has to take off her scarf, her zip-up sweatshirt, her pull-over sweatshirt, the sweater her Aunt Bernie knitted for her for Christmas in 1997, a button-down blouse, a polo shirt, her ex-boyfriend’s Metallica T with the sleeves cut off, a halter top, one more t-shirt, a sports bra and an underwire bra before we finally get to see her gazongas.”
Acura unveiled the first NSX Concept, which lacked an interior, at the 2012 Detroit show. This year’s concept car had a finished interior and opening doors, and Thyme says the next NSX Concept, most likely to be shown at the New York Auto Show this spring, will have an opening hood with a dummy engine, which will be replaced with a real engine in the NSX Concept to be shown at the 2014 Detroit show.
“After that, we’ll show an NSX concept with updated front-end styling, then another one with updated rear-end styling, and maybe a couple with new rooflines and steering wheels. We thought of doing one shaped like a CR-V just to see if people were paying attention, but we decided to just futz with the headlights and the side glass instead.”
Asked about the cost of producing multiple concepts, Thyme said, “Oh, it’s unbelievable. Each concept costs an average of $750,000 to produce, plus another hundred grand to present it at the auto show. We figure this endless line of concepts will probably add $20,000 to the price of each NSX we sell, but how the hell else are we going to maintain the public’s interest in a super-light mid-engine sports coupe with a turbo V6, twin-clutch transmission, and a three-motor hybrid powertrain with the world’s first torque-vectoring electric drive?”
Acura initially planned to bring the NSX to market in 2015, but now says it may delay the launch in order to produce more concept cars.
An apologetic Toyota apologized to the motoring public today after announcing that the 2013 RAV4 shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show was not the actual production vehicle.
“The SUV revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show was not the new RAV4, but was in fact a design study done by one of our employees as a moonlighting project for a competing automaker,” explained Toyota spokesman Ashiro Nakasorry. “The guilty party has been reprimanded and punished with a 2-year extension of his employment contract.”
Nakasorry would not give exact details as to how the American public relations department revealed the wrong vehicle, describing it only as “a massive miscommunication” and “an act of regrettable optimism.”
“Toyota would never knowingly risk alienating its loyal customers by introducing a vehicle with such unique and radical styling,” Nakasorry told Autoblopnik. “We humbly apologize to the motoring public, and while we are not ready to reveal the actual 2013 Toyota RAV4 just yet, we can assure you that it will be comfortably predictable and derivative. Actually, it looks a lot like the current one with a slightly different grille, but you didn’t hear that from me.”
As the industry prepares for the first major auto show of the 2013 season, automakers have gleefully announced their plans for the show’s press preview days.
“Mazda is going to have the loudest pre-press-conference music in the history of the Los Angeles Auto Show,” said spokesbraga Jeremy “Bev” Irons. “We’ve got an all-new 600,000-watt sound system with 155 speakers, one for every victim of the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake. Believe you me, when the our press conference begins, every Angeleno from Simi Valley to Seal Beach is going to know it.”
Toyota issued a pre-show press release saying it plans to debut a new billion-watt lighting system that, according to spokesbulb Moe Tehterball, “will make the California sun look like a guttering candle.”
Tim Gogetter, spokesman for Infiniti, said Nissan’s luxury division was planning a unique entertainment spectacle. “Remember those dancers we had for the G37 Convertible reveal that everyone said were really annoying? Well, they’re back — only this time, we’re going to set them on fire.”
Ford remained tight lipped about their LA show plans, but Autoblopnik was able to get the story from a junior PR staffer, who spoke on the condition that we not tell his boss he tried to sell us a bag of oregano before realizing we were journalists.
“So, like, we’re going to have this animatronic Mark Fields, and it’s going to look exactly like him, except it’ll have, like, two or three hairs out of place. And the animatronic Mark Fields is going to start doing the press conference in Mark’s voice, and just when people in the audience are all like, ‘Whoa, dude, like what’s up with Mark Fields’ hair?’, the real Mark Fields is going to come out on stage and be all like ‘I don’t think so!’ and then he’s going to shoot the animatronic Mark Fields with a bazooka, and it’s going to explode and flash drives with the Ford press kit are going to rain down, like, everywhere. I don’t get it, but my boss says that anything having to do with Mark Fields’ hair will get like a thousand stories on Jalopnik and The Truth About Cars, so, like, whatever, dude.”
When asked what new vehicles and concepts would be appearing at the show, none of the company representatives with whom we spoke had any comment.