/ Motoring

Have carmakers taken concepts too far?

Volkswagen concept car

Concept cars often reveal the most exciting automative developments, sometimes showcase exceptional design philosophy and can shape the future of cars. But this latest concept makes me question their relevance.

Pictured is a Volkswagen concept from an exhibition in Beijing last week which showcased new clean energy vehicles.

Okay, so I understand that this isn’t an unveiling at a mainstream car show, or a design that VW is looking to put into production any time soon but, the fact is, it’s being showcased as a car when it clearly isn’t one.

So what is it? I’m not sure either – it looks like someone’s rolled a dog’s chew-toy through a kid’s Lego-set to me.

Are concept cars just a ruse?

The reality is that many of the concepts shown at events by car manufacturers are a ruse – a press stunt designed to steal limelight away from rival carmakers.

Yes, a good proportion of concepts do evolve into a production model, but it’s very infrequent that a concept-derived car retains the outrageous design and impact of the original.

Surely this shouldn’t be the case? What happened to the day when a concept was used to gauge the interest of the motoring world before actually starting to develop a production run?

It’s all too common these days for a concept to ‘wow’ car enthusiasts, but then the design sketches return to the doldrums of R&D filing cabinets, never to be touched again.

What the hell is that?

I’ve got the utmost respect for car brands that do actually preserve the concept design in their production car, like the new Range Rover Evoque, which looks almost identical to Land Rovers LRX Concept revealed at the 2008 Detroit Motor Show.

Anyway, make sure to check out the embedded Flickr gallery for my favourite outrageous concept designs. Some have come to fruition, some haven’t, but all of them were worthy of the ‘what the hell is that?’ remark when they were first unveiled.

Plus, tell us what you think about concept cars. Do you have a love/hate relationship with them like I do, or do you think they’re just cheap PR ploys?


Is that meant to be some kind of… blow-fish? How does it… move? I’m sure they’re just trying to move into the modern art arena to make centre-pieces for rich people’s ridiculously large coffee tables…

This nonsense just adds to the cost of cars and the manufacturers deserve to be ridiculed.

My idea of a concept car is one that is designed for ease of servicing (hence lower running costs) and with more components (e.g. exhaust systems and brake disks) designed to last the life of the vehicle. Then put it into production as soon as possible!

“it looks like someone’s rolled a dog’s chew-toy through a kid’s Lego-set to me.”

really great comment and so true! 🙂

My opinion is that concepts are just that, concepts, and what makes it to market is never what wowed us at previous motor shows. I remember being wowed by many a Peugeot over the years only to find that they end up producing the same drab tedium that always cuts me up and/or pulls out on me.

Good on Land Rover for finally giving us something that looks like the original, just a pity that 4x4s are vanity vehicles for the uncertain driver

James Cole says:
28 May 2011

I still laugh when I see a Smart Car on the road. They just remind me of bubble cars. It would not be so bad if they were cheap like bubble cars were but you have to pay nearly as much for a Smart “half car” than you do for a real car.