QOTD: What Else Would You Like to Buy From An Automaker?

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]

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  • Mcs 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.

  • Brett Woods Brett Woods on Jan 31, 2018

    A Carbon Monoxide sensor in the car that you can detach and take with you when going into a hotel room or trailer.

  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
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