Your favorite car brands manufacture more than vehicles. Some of the most well-known names dabble in products you’d never expect. From household items to extravagant experiences, here are seven surprising things auto makers have created.
1. BMW: Bobsleds
If you’ve been cheering for Team USA in bobsledding events, you’ve probably seen bobsleds made by BMW. A bobsled needs to be aerodynamic and have good balance to achieve the kind of speed Team USA needs to win, so who better to design one than a maker of luxury vehicles?
2. Aston Martin: Condos
Speaking of luxury, how does spending several million dollars on a condo fit into your budget? For those with money to burn, Aston Martin offers high-end “residences” in Miami, Florida.
This is one condo community you have to see to believe. The 66-story tower boasts 391 residences ranging in size from a typical apartment to over 10,000 square feet. (That’s four times the size of an average house!) Created to align with “the needs of today’s modern cosmopolitan lifestyle,” Aston Martin Residences are truly top of the line – and possibly a little over the top.
3. Lamborghini: Speaker
When a sports car meets a speaker, you get the EsaVox. There’s no mistaking the source of the inspiration. Take one look at it, and you’ll see Lamborghini parts and design elements everywhere. The speaker’s most distinctive feature comes in the form of sleek exhaust pipes sitting front and center.
The price tag? Over $20,000. If that blows your mind – or your bank account – you should see the price tags on the brand’s cars.
4. Honda: Lawn Mowers
Honda’s lawn mowers, on the other hand, are much more accessible. For a few hundred dollars, you get the same reliable construction and performance Honda cars are known for without cleaning out your bank account, your kids’ college funds and your inheritance. And you don’t have to go farther than your local hardware or home improvement store to find one.
5. Toyota: Sewing Machines
Toyota sewing machines offer another affordable option with a familiar brand name. Made for home use, manufacturing began in 1946. The idea was spearheaded by Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda himself. Seeking to make something both beautiful and functional, Toyoda harkened back to the company’s roots as a maker of looms to envision and execute a product design that merged both characteristics.
Sturdy and attactive, Toyota’s sewing machines are available everywhere from Amazon to Walmart. You can even find used and refurbished models on eBay!
6. GM: Bat Houses
What do you do when you have a bunch of battery covers that are hard to recycle but still want to do right by the environment? If you’re GM, you turn them into bat houses.
You read that right: bat houses. Made from Chevy Volt battery covers – which are apparently not easy to recycle by conventional means – each house can hold up to 150 bats. GM builds and installs the houses throughout the wildlife habitat sites it supports to give bats safe places to roost.
It may seem odd for a car company to head up initiatives to save bats, but as white nose syndrome continues to spread in North America, interventions like this one are becoming more important to preserve the population.
7. Mercedes-Benz: Furniture
Unveiled in 2012, Mercedes-Benz furniture was everything you’d expect from a luxury car brand. The head of design described the line as “…various piece of furniture [reflecting] the progressive, dynamic design idiom of our current show cars and concept vehicles, offering an exclusive, emotional experience outside our vehicles as well.” It’s a rather strange way to describe what amounts to a combination of fluid lines and boxy shapes characteristic of Mercedes-Benz chairs, sofas, coffee tables and other pieces.
Pinning down exact the exact cost of Mercedes-Benz décor is hard, unless you want to request pricing from the few outlets that sell it. But the recent story of a YouTube star trying to offload his pair of sofas for $90,000 (more than the average yearly salary across all workers in the U.S) gives a pretty good clue.
You’ll probably never live in a penthouse that’s bigger than half your neighborhood or lounge on a sofa you’d need to blow through your retirement account to afford, but it’s entertaining to see what happens when car manufacturers think outside the box. The next time you need something a little more everyday – like something to handle your yard work or support your crafting hobby – you might be able to get a product from a brand you already know and love.
About the Author Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to NutritionStudies.org, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the NutritionFacts.org 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks. You can find out more about Sam at GreenGutWellness.com.