Ikea's April Fool's Day Present: A Car, Car-Sharing, or a French Joke?

LEKO the new IKEA car photo

Still clip from video via roulez-leko.com.

Since the Internet's abuzz with rumors of an IKEA car, supposedly to be called the 'Leko' and to be introduced by French IKEA on March 31 - we thought we'd jump in with some facts, as well as some healthy speculation.

The initial source of the rumor is a french web site called roulez-leko.com, which includes a video clip of the "designer" Christophe Grozs giving a few tantalizing clues about IKEA's introduction, along with the conservation charity WWF, of "the car of tomorrow." But before your mind goes frenzied with visions of a flat-pack car, read on...

IKEA car share Austria photo

Austrian car-sharing via Denzel Mobility.

The Guardian's Leo Hickman managed to connect with IKEA France's PR person Isabelle Crémoux-Mirgalet, who gave a little bit of info. (However, keep in mind that if the LEKO was actually a product, a flat-pack car, for example, it is hardly feasible that IKEA France would be the announcing party).

What I can confirm is that Ikea France has decided to support a new car system in line with its positioning: cheaper and more responsible than any other; allowing a dramatic reduction in your gas spending; built so it can adapt to the products you want to carry. But, no complementary information is supposed to be released before the launch, on 31 March. Some more days to wait.

The words "car system" may be key here. Hickman got some further confirmation from WWF a little later in the day that LEKO is something real (at the very least an elaborate marketing campaign) and added that they are indeed involved, and that LEKO is not an April Fool's Day joke.

IKEA has dipped into the car rental/leasing business as recently as 2007 when it set up a joint project with a Swedish car agent called Holmgrens Bil, but that attempt yielded few takers and was abandoned in late 2008

More recently, IKEA became part of an Austrian car-sharing program, so that small vans could be made available to shoppers who are members of Denzel Mobility car share program.

So, because IKEA Sweden isn't in on the plan, it is more than likely that it's something akin to car sharing, probably with different sizes of vans and station-wagon-sized vehicles so that shoppers can get their purchases home. IKEA's business model has pretty much always been big-box stores out in the suburban boonies, and that model won't completely change, but IKEA must find ways to get its shoppers back and forth as smaller cars and less car ownership for city dwellers becomes a reality. Via: Autoblog Green
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