There are numerous ways that manufacturers test their brand new vehicles. For safety, these are often done via crash testing to see whether the occupants will surive the impact. Together with safety, manufacturers from all over the world also need to conduct and pass other tests such as emissions, weather proofing, etc. This ensures that the vehicle is ready for production.
Apart from the usual tests, in Japan, it is said that the country also test vehicles by dropping bowling balls on their hoods. Should the hood dent, the car is not fit for sale locally. No, we are not making this up. In fact this claim was made by United States President Donald Trump.
"It's called the bowling ball test; do you know what that is? That's where they take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and they drop it on the hood of the car," said Trump.
According to a report by the Washington Post, Trump made the claim during a private event in Missouri. More specifically, he felt that Japan was using gimmicks to deny U.S. automakers access to their consumers.
"And if the hood dents, then the car doesn't qualify. Well, guess what, the roof dented a little bit, and they said, nope, this car doesn't qualify. It's horrible, the way we're treated. It's horrible,” Trump added.
Going over what Trump had said, a test like that would be physically impossible to pass. Any vehicle would have its hood or body panel dented should a bowling ball be dropped onto it, especially from 20 feet up. That said, should this unique way of testing be true, videos of automakers dropping bowling balls would have likely surfaced online already.
Rather than actually using a bowling ball for tests, it is likely that Trump intended the story to be used as a jest about Japan's stringent inspection methods. That is, unless he was serious about his comments.