Audi, the car manufacturer that unexpectedly gave BMW new street cred by poaching all the crap and inconsiderate drivers who used to give Beemers a bad name, has asked basement-dwelling nerds and other bottom-feeders to come up with new designs for its 2030 model range, thus saving loads of cash.
In a frankly-ghastly video, a selection of Audi design gurus (you can spot them by their black clothing and tragic facial hair) extol the virtues of 'engaging' people who have no idea about designing cars to, err, design cars.
And before you reach for the green crayons to tell me that I'm an idiot, please consider the following statement from Audi and then ask yourself who is the idiot here:
"As part of the design process, the Audi design team leveraged social media as an interactive forum through which to solicit consumer insights."
Do you really want to buy a car from a company that can come out with bullshit like that?
400,000 Facebook users responded to Audi's design challenge and came up with, well, bugger all, to use a good old Anglo Saxon term.
Let's just allow Audi's official statement to speak for itself for a bit here:
"As part of the design process, the Audi design team leveraged social media as an interactive forum through which to solicit consumer insights. Using the Audi Facebook page as a central hub, the team was able to engage Audi fans - and regular Facebook users alike - in a variety of ways, including discussion threads, polls and feedback on photos and videos. This resulted in an active conversation between the Audi designers and the consumers they were targeting.
"With its nearly 400,000 fans, the Audi Facebook audience is composed of passionate brand enthusiasts who have a mutual affinity for automobiles. They yielded feedback for the design team that proved uniquely thoughtful. Additionally, the broader Facebook community was welcome to participate as well, increasing the potential input. Collectively, Facebook participants played a key role in shaping the design and functionality of the Audi models submitted for the competition.
"Case in point: the prevalence of communications tools in the final Audi designs. When engaging with Facebook users for input on the topic of connectivity, the Audi Design Team received overwhelming demand to stay in touch with users' digital worlds - even behind the wheel. Taking this insight to heart, the design team developed a driving experience that, while solitary, enabled seamless communication through a host of channels including messaging and social networking integration via mobile broadband."
God help us all. Who, in their right mind, would want to buy a car from an outfit capable of spewing such absolute crap?
The theme of this year's competition, titled YouthMobile 2030, asked the world's five-year olds to 'envision automobiles appealing to young people of the future'. The Audi Design Team has apparently taken the ideas submitted by these pre-pubescents and designed 'next generation vehicle control logic', that takes 'even the smallest body movements and gestures of the driver into consideration to provide an unsurpassed command of the drive'.
Let's see if you can guess which gesture this writer currently has in mind. Hint: it only involves raising one finger.
And just in case you think a jaded old Jaguar driver is making all this crap up, check out the video here. If you even consider buying an Audi after watching it, we'd really like to know why.