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Concept Cars: What Are They And Why Are They Popular?

Feb 1, 2008
In 1966, fanatics of comic superhero Batman were awed by the presence of the character's legendary Batmobile in the Batman television series. That time, people could not help but wonder whether the fancy car was actually existent. To the surprise of everyone, the car was for real and was actually fully functioning. Alas, the car was not marketed for mass production due to several limitations that include the overall design, safety and feasibility.

The Batmobile was actually a Lincoln Futura, designed and developed in 1954 by Ford Motor Company. The fancy and highly impressive car was in actuality a 'concept car'. Many other concept cars had already been introduced prior to the popularity of the Batmobile. But the Lincoln Futura certainly paved the way for global car buyers to know more about the concept of such vehicles.

So what are concept cars? The special vehicles are prototypes of ideal cars that are showcased for public exhibition. For those who are not familiar with the traditions of the global car industry, carmakers are constantly designing and making special cars to exhibit their ability and capacity to design and manufacture vehicles that would be highly useful and functional. Concept cars are conceptual in nature wherein car manufacturers work on their ideal and futuristic vehicle concept.

For so many times, concept cars have prepared the market for the development and launch of similar car models. For example, in the 1980s, Porsche 989 was unveiled as a concept car that later on became the predecessor of a mass-produced Porsche Panamera. In other cases, concept cars highlighted special design and manufacturing situations, like the case of the Volvo YCC, a prototype designed in 2001 by a team comprising entirely of women car designers.

Usually, concept automobiles remain just concepts. The vehicles normally do not go for mass production for several reasons. For one, prototypes are made of exotic, non-traditional and very expensive materials that making them for mass production would certainly be unfeasible. Some concept cars are made of materials that would never ever be useful for real cars like paper and carbon fiber. Another reason why concept automobiles remain just concepts is the fanciness and impracticality of designs and layouts. The original Batmobile for example could not be mass-produced because driving the car would certainly be not effective and safe.

In traditional practice, concept cars are unveiled to the market and are admired for their fanciness and freshness. But they will remain that way. Usually, after the exhibition, the cars are destroyed because they would not be useful. At times, the car manufacturer would keep the concept car for public exhibition and museum purposes, other than as a strategy to expand the list of company patents.

Concept cars, most aficionados know, are mostly not drivable. Although the cars might come complete with engines, turbines and all other necessary car parts, driving and operating them would always be non-feasible. Mock-ups of fancy cars, made up of clay, fiberglass, wax, plastic and metals, are also technically considered as concept cars.

People hope that in the future, concept cars would be more than just concepts. These times, some things do not remain impossible. More impressive cars are certainly lined up for the future, and they need not be concept cars.
About the Author
Alex Baumm. As the modern global car industry continues to evolve, car companies are expected to further embrace the advantage and usefulness of Concept Cars. Find more information on anything related to cars at our Car Forum.
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