It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Apr 13, 2015

MINI Cooper's Vertical Parking Locator

The history of the MINI Cooper has been one that has seen the model rise from a racing car variation on Mini origins, through to being one of the most iconic vehicles of the 1960s. More recently, the MINI Cooper has formed part of BMW’s takeover and re-launch of the marque in the 2000s as a series of Cooper and Cooper S variants, which have aligned with the success of the Mini Hatch and other models.

"The unique selling proposition that Mini stands for -- the agility, versatility and fun to drive -- that excitement has not been able to translate to other brands," said Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America.

It is quite understandable that the miniature and mobile cars instantly became popular in heavily populated cities, where parking is a huge problem. To emphasize the cars unique ability to park in very limited spaces, Mini applied the fake April’s Fool advertising in Australia.

April 1, 2003, the new breakthrough carmaker Mini placed a number of ads in several Australian newspapers, promoting the new Mini Cooper. They promised to end parking hassles and introduced its new space-saving technology: "vertical parking locator" (VPL) and touted the new development of vertical parking lots on the sides of buildings.

The press release stated:

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.

To enhance the gag even further, MINI fixed one of its cars to the side of a building in George Street, Sydney. It was quite effective, even though it is completely impossible.

Well, while vertical parking is still a funny fiction, MINI parking ability is indeed incredible. Watch the parking competition and Guinness Records, related to MINI parking achievements.

In 2012, Chinese master Han Yue managed to park into a space of just 15 cm (5.91 in) longer than his vehicle.

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