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How Cars Are Kept Secret Until Their Official Release

From the moment a new car design is first created right through to its release, a shroud of secrecy is created around it to stop information and images of the new car being leaked to journalists before its official launch. This intensive and often expensive operation begins from day one when the car is little more than a drawing a page, as employees working on the project are sworn to secrecy.

The Lengths Manufacturers Go To Keep Their Car Designs Secret

The facilities which companies use now contain security measures which you would expect in a bank vault. BMW uses fingerprint scanning on their buildings to ensure only authorised people enter the offices where new models are being worked on.

“It's so important with the timing, when you release information and how you do it,” says Dennis Nobelius, project manager for Volvo's latest SUV. “The first time you reveal the car, that image will be shared so many times. And what you wouldn't want is a bad picture taken from a strange angle showing something in a bad light.”

Once the car reaches the testing stage, where it must be put through a various temperatures, driving surfaces and road types, the real work in keeping the car secret begins. Once at this point, the cars should be at the mercy of an eager journalist or fan with a smartphone, but the manufacturers are one step ahead.

Many attach plastic parts to the car to hide its appearance or cover it in a material which features swirly or triangular patterns in order to create an optical illusion. Once they are suitably camouflaged, prototypes are sent to places around the world for testing. Many of these are used by lots of manufacturers, meaning the experienced automotive photo-journalists know exactly where to look. And this is where it turns into a game of cat and mouse.

“The drivers say it's sometimes a bit scary because people follow at high speed and lean out of the windows to take photos,” says Nobelius. “But they have guidelines for what to do in those cases. Pull over, stop the car, go to the trunk, put a cover over and just wait until they disappear.”

Keeping the cars image secret is of high importance to the manufacturers, as an early leak might put off some people from buying the current model, resulting in a loss of sales. However some information is leaked deliberately to create hype before the launch of the car, to give the public just enough teasers to get interested in the cars release.

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