Is this a new Ikea car launch, crafty PR or just online rumour adding 2+2 to get 5?

image I’ve been investigating the origins of a story that Ikea is apparently about to launch a car, the Leko.

The story is told in French – with leblogauto writing about the Leko website on 23 March, although Onlike.net reported it a day earlier as did La Gazette, where there is a link to a “mailing” that certainly appears to originate with Ikea.

Le journal du Geek linked to the Leko website and video on 21 March – with Ikeaddict having received the email link on 20th.  The video carries the logo of WWF and Ikea France has announced a Week of Sustainable development, from 1-7 April 2009, so the story is likely to be related to that.

It is interesting to see that Yahoo cars France has an image saying the car is launched on 31 March, but English sites, such as Autocar, claim the reveal date is 1 April, and so caution this could be an April Fool’s day joke.

Autoblog links the concept to Gordon Murray’s T25 city car – but as the news on Murray’s site hasn’t been updated since last July, there’s no insight to be gained there.

Mirror.co.uk thinks this is simply an Ikea France marketing gimmick, whilst Jalopnik senses Swedish humour at work.  

imageSo is this simply a case of a French viral email being used to build online buzz ahead of a real product, a campaign/promotion between Ikea and WWF, or a spoof of some sort?  I suppose we’ll find out next Monday.

The image used by some sites to accompany the story is in itself interesting – I found it mentioned in a blog post by Raw Creative dated 28 February with a suggestion that it was an idea for an Ikea car.  

UK Business Forum discusses the same idea a day earlier – where there is talk about the image being of a Golf Mark II of the 1980s.

I’m sure this image has been around for a long time – and I cannot recall where or when I first saw it.  So I’ve asked a friend who knows everything about everything automotive for his assistance.

Please feel free to add any additional knowledge or thoughts on the story.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

3 thoughts on “Is this a new Ikea car launch, crafty PR or just online rumour adding 2+2 to get 5?”

  1. I don’t know about this, but in China they have just launched sales of an automobile that resembles a cracker jack box but without the prize inside.

  2. It turns out that this is simply a car sharing scheme (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/ikea-announces-car-pooling-service/).

    So the answer to my original question is really that this was PR-hype or a rather lame viral campaign. When creating buzz there needs to be something of a pay-off, or the result is a feeling of being let down, even hood-winked.

    And, next time Ikea tries to engage an audience in some “new” initiative, we’ll all be much less likely to be interested.

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