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Launches are a pretty big deal for car makers. It is, after all, the first time they get to show off what is often the result of years of hard work, research, development and testing. You can understand then why they’d be so keen to make a big splash with their launch events.
So the media and celeb invites are sent out, a swanky venue and some up-and-coming performers are secured and, if everything goes to plan, everyone leaves at the end of the night feeling good about the new car and the future of the company.
Sometimes though, things don’t go according to plan and the events festivities take a turn from fun and celebratory to completely and utterly weird.
Let’s be clear, this weirdness often has nothing to do with the car itself, but once the canapes have been consumed, the champagne quaffed and the speeches made, you just can’t help but feeling that it would’ve been better if things had been kept simple.
I mean it’s pretty difficult to screw up pulling a sheet off a car while it’s standing still on a plinth right? And that’s probably what the folks behind these bizarre motoring launches wish they’d gone for.
1. The Jaguar XE (2014)
Yup. We’re going for the latest weird car launch first. In part that’s because it’s fresh in mind, but it’s also partly because it illustrates our point about cars sometimes being a hell of a lot better than their launches.
The XE, as we’ve already written, looks great and could well achieve its aim of taking on a certain breed of German saloon.
The launch though, was took a turn for the bizarre almost from the get go when we were introduced to the Jag’s theme song (hint: cars don’t need specifically commissioned theme songs). Then there were the dancers, and play involving a bunch of time-traveling teens from the 1970s for some reason.
Here’s the whole thing. We’d advise watching it without the assistance of any mind-altering substances, because we’re afraid you might not come back to reality if you do.
2. The Chevy Volt (2009)
By the time 2009 rolled around, Chevrolet had already shown off a concept model of the Volt, its plug-in hybrid. Given how successful Toyota had been with the Prius, Chevrolet was obviously hoping for big things from the car. So when it came time to show off the actual car to the world’s press, it made sense that the US car-maker would want to throw a big party.
As Fox News noted at the time, that party included “folk music, break dancing, and what looks like a few rejects from a 1986 high school production of the Pirates of Penzance“.
One observer managed to capture video of what was, by all accounts, a total train wreck but Chevrolet had it removed from YouTube due to a copyright claim. Right, so nothing to do with being embarrassed by it then.
Oh, there was also a theme song by the way. Lyrics included the line: “what will get us out of first gear? A better EV. Not that that’s a big idea(r)”.
3. The BMW i3
The BMW i3 is a pretty special car, if only for the role it’s played in reinvigorating people’s interest in the electric car. When it came time to launch it though, it seems that the car maker’s head honchos couldn’t decide between German introspection and Las Vegas-style exhibitionism.
In the end, it landed somewhere in between and, according to at least one observer, ended up throwing in some serious narcissism.
It seems building a car with the “i” prefix made BMW immediately start behaving like Apple.