Foggy forecasts for the motoring year ahead
Predictions for the motoring year 2016 that, almost certainly won’t come to pass
Predictions for May: The new Amazon Prime motoring series begins, and the first episode consists entirely of Jeremy Clarkson speaking directly to the camera and “just saying what’s on his mind.” Three international incidents, a dozen lawsuits and one minor war result, along with a vendetta against Clarkson from Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Neil Briscoe dusted off his crystal ball to foresee the year ahead - but his predictions are about as likely to arrive as flying cars
Volkswagen begins the recall process for its diesel-engined cars and announces changes to the model lineup. From now on Trendline, Comfortline and Highline will be replaced with trims called ‘We’re Sorry,’ ‘No, We’re Really Sorry,’ and ‘Gnashing And Wailing.’ All VW cars will now come in only one colour, a shade of white referred to in the brochure as ‘Whiter Than.’
There is panic in Italy as a strike involving the Wool Gatherers and Cotton Pickers Union means that Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has run out of wooly jumpers and is forced to wear a suit. He is denied access to the crucial Detroit Motor Show as door security refuse to believe he is in fact Sergio Marchionne.
BMW announces a new lineup of down-sized turbocharged engines, with only one cylinder and a 500cc capacity. It’s said that the new engine is to be shared with Husqvarna lawnmowers as BMW used to own Husqvarna motorcycles.
The Sergio Marchionne no-jumpers scandal rolls on into a second month. He is now being denied access to Fiat-Chrysler headquarters in Turin and his secretary swears she’s “never seen this man before.”
Toyota launches the new Prius and begins sounding out the Vatican on the possibility of including a complimentary Sainthood for all owners.
Apple designs a new version of CarPlay which allows users to control the car’s steering and brakes through voice commands. The system causes its first accident when a senior figure in the Labour party attempts to move back towards the left.
Smog in major Chinese cities has now become so bad that the authorities are now forcing all car owners to switch to 1990s Saab 9000s. “We believe that the original adverts which said that the Saab turbo engine’s exhaust was cleaner than most city centre air to be the truth” said a spokesperson for the People’s Interior Ministry For Saab Revival.
There is consternation at the Geneva Motor Show when guest Car Of The Year host, US TV star Steve Harvey, announces the wrong winner. A spokesperson for Massey-Ferguson tractors says “we’re just so surprised to win the European Car Of The Year award. I wasn’t even aware that we’d entered!”
There is scandal in the US when a press release from Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk, outlining marketing plans for the upcoming Model 3 saloon, ends with the phrase “…think it will be another huge success for the Tesla company. Mwu-ha-ha-ha-ha! Puny humans. With this Model 3, my plan for global domination will be complete. What do you mean you’re still writing this down?”
Chinese plans to reduce smog levels by making all car buyer buy old Saabs seems to be working. Three new factories, building original-spec 9000 CS models have opened up and are working around the clock. Other car makers are now getting in on the act. Jaguar say’s it’s relaunching the original XJ12 Series III because “it may have been a bit thirsty but we never had smog like that back in my day.”
Interest in Formula One racing, which had been flagging for some time, seems to have been re-ignited by the actions of Venezuelan racing driver Pastor Maldonado. Maldonado has, in the first two races of the season, triggered massive crashes which have wiped out most of the field, allowing him to win and he now leads the championship. Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton resigns his Mercedes seat in disgust and is announced as a new judge on X-Factor.
Tesla boss Elon Musk attempts to calm speculation regarding his previous press release, saying it was all a misunderstanding. Some observant observers observe that he is wearing a new steel glove with spikes on the knuckles while issuing his statement, however. Tesla shares jump by 32 per cent as, according to a spokesperson for the NYSE “the company’s excellent fundamentals. No-one here has been threatened with being banished to the Forbidden Zone. Honestly.”
As China’s smog begins to clear, sales of old Saabs continue to rise and the re-constituted Saab corporation is now worth more money than General Motors and Volkswagen combined. Other car makers begin to raid their back catalogues and Renault has put the old Renault 4 back into production as a non-diesel alternative for city dwellers. Wexford County Council says that it is “cautiously optimistic” that its original Renault factory can be re-opened but telecommunications giant Eir denies reports that it has bulk-ordered Renault 4 vans in orange and white livery.
With wool and cotton still in short supply in Italy, Sergio Marchionne has been forced to poke holes in an old piece of carpet to gain access to his office and files.
The new Amazon Prime motoring series begins, and the first episode consists entirely of Jeremy Clarkson speaking directly to the camera and “just saying what’s on his mind.” Three international incidents, a dozen lawsuits and one minor war result, along with a vendetta against Clarkson from Russian president Vladimir Putin.
There is consternation at the Le Mans 24hrs when French authorities ban the Toyota, Audi and Porsche hybrids because, they say, the emissions from their engines cannot be verified. Amid claim and counter-claim, the race is actually won by 72-year old Jean-Luc Donquel driving one of the latest 900cc Renault 4s. M. Donquel says that we was not an official entrant but had merely “popped out for a baguette and got caught up in the excitement.”
Google announces that it is suspending development on its self-driving car until it finds those responsible for a so-called ‘hack’ that saw prototypes fitted with a large, red-lit camera lens in the dashboard and a simulated, very calm computer voice that referred to all passengers as ‘Dave.’ The estate of Stanley Kubrick was unavailable for comment.
Rolls-Royce announces that its successor to the large Phantom saloon will be so enormous that the rear seats will, technically, be in a separate time zone to the front ones. The car maker says it will install separate clocks for the front and rear compartment, with the front one set to GMT for the sat-nav while the rear seats will be set for “some time in the 1930s. You know, when there were still peasants around.”
A summer of record temperatures has caused havoc for Irish motorists. All models of the new Ford Mustang sold here have to be recalled for overheating issues, as while you can lead a Mustang to a water source, you can’t necessarily top up the radiator.
Smog levels in China have reached an all-time low, and there are now more than 2-million Saab 9000s on the roads. Road safety levels have increased out of all proportion however, and shops and beauty clinics are reporting a steep rise in drivers looking for blonde hair dye, black polo-necks and books by Henning Mankel.
Sergio Marchionne launches the new Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon to the public. Amid much praise for the new car, a Fiat-Chrysler spokesperson is forced to deny that the CEO’s outfit was in fact “an old teddy bear from which the stuffing had been removed.”
The hot summer weather has continued to wreak motoring havoc, but it has at least seen the arrival of some classic models back onto the Irish market. Continuing the trend of re-issuing old vehicles, Renault re-introduces the Fuego coupe while Citroen re-launches the ZX Volcane. Both cars are said to reflect the scorching summer temperatures. Skoda, however, reports a steep drop-off in sales of its Yeti.
Newly-introduced EU legislation bans the sale of aftermarket spoilers, wings, chrome, lights and wheels, as part of the ‘Good Taste Initiative.’
Pastor Maldonado wraps up his F1 title in record time at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He triggers a first-lap crash which eliminates the entire field, including himself, but a section of his carbon-fibre bodywork is adjudged to have crossed the line first.
Riding a wave of success from sales of the new Model 3 saloon, Tesla boss Elon Musk has begun buying up chains of uninhabited islands in the south Pacific ocean. When asked why, he responds “no reason. But would you mind taking this quick DNA test?” Reporters later report that this statement is issued from “some kind of throne, it looked like it was made of gold.”
Volkswagen’s senior executives have been informed of a new dress code for office hours. All senior management will now have to wear loose-fitting shirts and trousers with a repeating arrow pattern, set off by a large metal sphere attached to the leg with a short length of chain. “This will be a significant time saving measure” says a VW spokesperson.
With Halloween coming up, Tesla boss Elon Musk has sent every household on the planet a full set of Tesla uniform jumpsuits and a mysterious card telling them to report to “a local processing centre for processing” on the 31st. When asked why, Musk responds “do not question me or my actions, puny human!” A spokesperson later clarifies that the jumpsuits are “Halloween outfits, you know, for fun.”
Saab is now that largest car maker on the planet, with its 15-million sales in 2015 vastly eclipsing those of Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors. City centre in air in Chinese cities has now become so clean that trips to Shanghai are now being prescribed by the HSE for asthma sufferers.
Pastor Maldonado is in hospital this month with a broken toe having dropped the 2015 Formula One World Championship trophy on his foot during an award ceremony.
The promise of a new Tesla electric car has lured many millions of people to ‘processing centres’ across the globe. Tesla boss Elon Musk assures reporters that the millions of lethal robots emerging from the other end of the processing centres are “purely coincidental.”
Italian wool and cotton supplies have finally begun to flow again and Fiat-Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has finally been able to wear his wooly jumpers once more. Shares in FCA rise by 30 per cent.
Millions of Tesla-Bots, converted into cyborgs from human specimens, are now roaming the globe, laying waste to vast areas and razing cities to the ground. From his hollowed-out volcano base in the south Pacific, Elon Musk issues a statement that “all shall bow before my wrath!” A spokesperson later says that the Tesla-kill-bots are merely suffering a software issue and that a recall will be issued.
The only people who seem to be immune to the effects of the Tesla-bots are those customers who have purchased newly-made Saab 9000s. A spokesperson for New Saab says that “the higher grade of Swedish steel used ensures full protection in an offset 40km/h collision. And from futuristic killer robots.”