Concept Cars – Why do they Disappear?

It’s amazing how often the subject of ‘concept cars’ arises in casual conversation with our clients. Many are hugely impressed by some of those seen in the media but puzzled as to why they’re never seen again.

Advertising

There’s nothing new in concept cars.  They’ve been used for decades by the manufacturers for several reasons but a VERY big one is brand advertising.

Although you could never prove it, it seems likely that in many cases the company concerned never really had any intention of bringing the design to market.  Some were put together purely as ‘eye candy’ for the big motor shows and they consist of little other than old technology (engines, transmissions, and controls) packed in very attractive and apparently ‘high tech’ bodywork/upholstery.

Market Testing

In some situations, the manufacturers are testing the public’s reaction to a new ‘half-idea’ before investing lots of R&D money in taking it further.

So, there might not be a lot of real substance behind the façade on display but they’ll be able to see from the gasps of delight/horror of viewers, as to whether or not they’re onto a potential winner.

Some concept cars in this category can’t even really be driven.

A Testbed

In theory, this is what concept cars are meant to be really about.

This is where the engineers have come up with some radical ideas and a lot of money has been put into bringing them together in a prototype or two. These vehicles are ‘runners’ and they’re used to try out very new ideas and techniques – plus again to assess the market’s reaction to them.

In many cases, the true concept cars rarely make it 100% into production. More commonly, some of their proven techniques and designs are used as the basis of a new (though often far less exciting) production model.  Much of the really glamorous work on the design will never be used again because it’s too expensive, didn’t get a good reception or plainly just didn’t work properly!

Fortunately, none of our luxury limousines are at the prototype stage.

So, no worries if you’re considering using them for your business trip or wedding!