You won’t believe what this company did to your car owner’s manual

There are numerous ways to improve how motorists interact with a car. While some companies try to build models that are more high-tech than ever and stuffed to the brim with electronics, Renault-owned Dacia is taking a more basic approach by opening the glove box and reinventing the oft-overlooked owner’s manual.

The owner’s manual has been getting progressively thicker as cars become more advanced and, consequently, more complicated. Dacia goes as far as calling it “the book that no one reads.” To change that once and for all, the Romanian car maker has asked a team made up of 30 writers and illustrators to transform the traditional, tech-heavy manual into an actual book that contains pieces of literature such as short prose and poetry as well as original illustrations. The end result is cleverly known as the Alternative Manual.

The chapters usually found in an owner’s manual — such as what tools are on board, what the buttons, stalks and knobs on the dashboard do, and how to check the engine’s oil — remain, but the step-by-step how-to instructions have been replaced with stories ranging from science fiction to romance. Each piece of writing is accompanied by its own artsy drawing.

Dacia launched the Alternative Manual project for fun during Gaudeamus, Romania’s largest book festival, but it has been so well received by owners and bibliophies who appreciate the refreshingly simple, back-to-the-basics nature of the book that the company is looking at distributing it with every new car it sells in Romania. Of course, the Alternative Manual will be accompanied by a regular owner’s manual with accurate illustrations and page after page of technical jargon.

So far, there’s no word on whether the manual will be translated into English — sorry, James May.

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