QOTD: What Else Would You Like to Buy From An Automaker?
As you’re probably aware, Tesla boss Elon Musk’s big dig side project, the drolly named Boring Company, is selling “flamethrowers” for $500 a pop in a bid to raise 10 million dollars for the fledgling business.
While The Boring Company will not build you a car, it does have Musk’s name all over it, and its goal is to see vehicles transported to underground highways via roadside elevators, where the cars and trucks are then whisked to their destination via autonomous, electric sleds. It’s all very Jetsons-like. In the future, it seems, the affluent and cultured Eloi live underground, not the Morlocks.
As for the flamethrower, there’s critics aplenty. The Drive‘s Alex Roy calls it a butane torch of limited usability, as real flamethrowers actually shoot a line of flammable liquid over great distances. One Twitter follower said the “flamethrower,” which Musk claims is just the thing for surviving the zombie apocalypse, would actually be useless against the shuffling undead, as flamethrowers primarily kill through asphyxiation. Zombies don’t breathe.
It doesn’t seem there’s even the option of narrowing the gas jet in order to take care of the grass and weeds filling the cracks in your front walkway. Naturally, California lawmakers are already planning a ban.
Still, Musk’s fire rifle got me to thinking: what non-automotive product would you like to see offered by an automaker?
Back in the 1950s, Chrysler Corporation held the distinction of building the world’s loudest air raid siren. Powered by the company’s 331 Hemi V8, the Chrysler Air-raid Siren was designed to alert all capitalism-loving Americans within earshot to the presence of the Red Menace.
That’s great for cities and counties worried about the H-bomb, but what about the private consumer?
In the past, and continuing to the present day, car companies have diversified their income stream with oddball creations. During times of war, we’ve even seen military vehicles and armaments. In World War 2, General Motors designed and built the M3 “Grease Gun” — a light, clip-fed submachine gun in .45 ACP and 9mm chamberings.
Volkswagen Group apparently sells a ketchup in its homeland, supposedly to serve with currywurst, a food dish I only learned of last year. Honda, as you know, builds a small private jet. A few years ago, Ford debuted a folding electric bicycle that can fit in the trunk of your car. The list goes on and on.
As automakers look for ways to rake in that sweet, sweet dough in a future devoid of icky automobiles, or at least ones with human drivers, we’ll surely see many new products brought to market by profit-hungry automakers. Let your mind wander. What non-automotive product offered by your favorite carmaker would you line up for at 5 a.m.?
A real flamethrower bearing the Hellcat logo? A double-stack Hyundai 9mm? An EcoBoost-badged hedge trimmer? The sky’s the limit. Who knows, maybe your suggestions will help nudge the product from fiction to reality.
[Image: The Boring Company]
Mcs on Jan 30, 2018
There is a product marketing company that produces a limited number of cars to promote the merchandise in their catalog. http://store.ferrari.com/us_en/ Just out of curiosity, how much do they really make with the merchandising vs. the car sales? Does anyone have the numbers? Is the merchandising a small part of their income or are they making serious money with it.
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