Why Do Automobile Manufacturers Make Concept Cars?

First, we need to talk about automotive trade shows. Automotive trade shows, often just called “car shows,” are commercial events where major car manufacturers show off new models to both their dealers and the press. If you wander around at one of these shows, you will often see another type of car being displayed in addition to new models. They are often wild, futuristic automobiles called “Concept Cars.”

What are Concept Cars?

Concept cars are platforms for companies to show off new ideas. Some are showcasing technology that is almost ready for primetime, others have technology that is really just a concept for feedback and discussion. Let’s take a look at one.

The Concept-i

Announced at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Concept-1 is a concept vehicle from Toyota. Designed by Toyota’s CALTY Design Research in Newport Beach, CA with user experience technology development from the Toyota Innovation Hub in San Francisco, the Concept-i was developed with a particular focus: an immersive user experience.

Our Toyota experts at Lustine Toyota of Woodbridge, a Toyota dealer in Woodbridge, VA, tell us at the heart of Concept-i is powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that learns with the driver to better meets the owner’s driving needs. The AI system also interfaces with advanced automated vehicle technologies to help enhance driving safety technology.

Under certain conditions users will have the choice of automated or manual driving based on their personal preference. Inside, the Concept-i avoids screens on the central console to reveal information when and where it’s needed. Colored lights in the foot wells indicate whether the vehicle is in automated or manual drive; discrete projectors in the rear deck project views onto the seat pillar to help warn about blind spots, and a next-generation heads-up display helps keep the driver’s eyes and attention on the road.

A Vision for the Future

So, the primary reason to make a concept car is for a car maker to show off the futuristic car technology they are working on. Concept cars are not required to meet many federal standards so engineers and designers are free to let their minds wander and create. As a result, some very innovative ideas may be generated and shown off at carshows.


As we mentioned, a secondary reason for the construction of a concept car is so feedback can be obtained from the media, auto experts, and even the general public. This information is invaluable to the car makers because it can help them decide which concepts to continue to develop and which to toss.

Final Word

There is a common criticism of concept cars, some of which comes from the manufacturers themselves. Concept cars are often considered a waste of time because lots of buzz gets generated and the vehicle itself will never be built for public use. That being said, these cars have invaluable benefits from the media exposure and the gathering of feedback. Although some manufacturers are scaling back on their concept cars, they are unlike to go away. They simply provide too much value to the car manufacturers.

Share this post