DETROIT — The holiday season means significant end-of-year business for automobile manufacturers and, as previously reported by Edmunds, it's a good time for car shoppers to get some great deals.
But in the midst of clearing out last year's inventory and showing off their latest models, some automakers have found time to have a little fun.
For example, GM's OnStar communications service is providing subscribers with a link to the NORAD Santa Tracker, so that at the push of a dashboard button, they (and their kids, of course) can see how close jolly old St. Nick is getting to them on Christmas Eve.
In addition, OnStar says it will donate $1 to the United Way for each Santa location call received and is also providing subscribers with free copies of The Night Before Christmas, downloadable via an OnStar email link.
Mercedes-Benz has gotten into the spirit of the season by creating an online Sleigh Configurator, so fans can create the perfect vehicle to make sure Santa gets his job done as efficiently, and elegantly, as possible.
Users first select from three different sleigh models: Santa's Silver Arrow, Santa's F 015 and Santa's G-Class. Next come color selections, which include Jingle Bells Gold and Pine Needle Green. Then comes drive system: 4Matic (four reindeer), Hybrid (two reindeer and two horses) and AMG (four burly demonic reindeer with sleek gray fur). Optional equipment includes navigation (a star), safety package plus (an angel) and an Intelligent Light System (an elf with a lantern).
When the configuration is complete, the user can see his or her creation on the screen and has the option of emailing it or sharing it on various social media outlets.
Subaru asked owners of its WRX sport sedan to use the company's Twitter feed to share pictures of their cars prepared for the holidays. Using the #WRXmas hashtag, fans have uploaded photos of their vehicles carrying Christmas trees and packages or decked out with lights, wreaths, Santa hats, reindeer horns and red noses.
To help celebrate the season, Lexus commissioned a team of sculptors to craft a set of wheels for a 2016 Lexus NX 300h out of ice. It took three months of research, design and testing, but in the end the SUV rolled on four disks of solid ice, highlighted by an in-wheel LED treatment.
And, just in time for the holidays, six Audi fans were presented with gift-wrapped photos of their cars turned into racing-style posters by Paris-based photographer and auto enthusiast Amaury Laparra. The fans were selected based on the level of enthusiasm they showed for the brand via their posts on Instagram.
Edmunds says: It's not all about moving metal during the busy holiday sales season. Car companies are having some fun, too. And if you can't get behind that, well, bah humbug.