Spy Shots: The 2012 Mediocrity, or A Waste of Our Time?

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Here at MotorAuthority, we get spy shots of upcoming vehicles from different sources--trusted lenspeople scouring the deserts and tundras of the world, just trying to hustle and make a dollar. Sometimes they come from readers like you (and we like that). And every so often, our own crack team comes up with shots of their own, like the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK we nabbed last weekend while competing in the 2010 Fireball Run.

Today, a set of mysterious photos landed in the MA inbox, and we're not quite sure what to make of them. Tina from California writes:

"I was in L.A. last week with my husband and we saw several (5 or 6) identical test cars. The other spy cars had more testing gear taped on and computers and other screens visible, but by the time I was able to dig my camera out of my purse, I was only able to catch up with one of the cars. I don't know what kind of test car this is, but they sure didn't want us to take any pictures. There was a M on the grille and a nameplate on back reading MEDIOCRITY. Are they serious? MEDIOCRITY?"

We have our suspicions. Here are three of them:

1) It's viral marketing. Someone's setting up a decoy to be used in a "clever" Facebook/Twitter/Foursquare/Meebo (Meebo?) campaign to be trickled out at a later date.

2) Some of our colleagues have a thing for beige cars and general trickstery.

3) There's a truly awful Third World car coming to the U.S. in the near future, and it's being tested to see if Americans really will pay 10 percent less for a car with 10 percent of the virtues of, say, a 1996 Hyundai Elantra.

The car in question, we attest, is pretty clearly a several-years-old Kia Mitsubishi with a new front and a bad paint job.

We're not 100 percent sure what to think -- so we're leaving it up to you. Tell us what you believe to be the truth, and whichever comment comes closest to reality, we'll send some swag your way.

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Comments (11)
  1. This is probably tied to an advertising campaign for another car, and how the other model “shatters mediocrity”. And it’s not a Mitsubishi—that’s a Kia centre-section.

  2. That's no Mediocrity... thats the 2012 BMW 3-Series... clearest pics yet of the latest BMW design language...

  3. i agree with jack, that is definitely a Kia. didn't think it was possible to make the optima any more beige but there you go...

  4. I agree with david, looks like the new 3 series bmw, ugly, and blah

  5. With the name Mediocrity this has to be the car GM is designing for the new Obama world car.

  6. Comic book B-movie shoot.

  7. The Chinese are coming. The Chinese are coming. None shall pass.

  8. Previous generation Kia Optima.

  9. Realizing that none of their own vehicles could be inconspicuously tested, Maybach retrofitted 5 Kias to wring out the details of their new Model 47h, due to hit the US shores in 2012.

  10. It is Subaru and part of their ad for the 2011 Subaru Legacy. See my link, its quite hilarious. :D

  11. Just saw the new "Mediocrity" commercial. Is the mother in that commercial Officer Lewis from Robocop? Anyway, the TV ad doesn't say anything and even the website is straight-up all the way ... until you click on a link. Then you'll arrive at the 2011 Subaru Legacy page as Morgan noted.

    I think they've probably been a little too good about developing the mediocrity. I hope it doesn't actually rub onto their real cars...

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