I live in the Detroit area and the only real benefit to that has been the North American Auto Show that happens once a year in January. At one poiont it was the biggest auto show in the world and may still be, I’m not really up on my car knowledge that much. But every year or two I’d make the trek there to see what was out, coming out and drool over the concept cars that were put on display.
I didn’t go this year. I don’t really know why. I guess it’s because I’m starting to notice a pattern. The pattern goes like this. I go to the auto show, I look at the cars, I realize there is only a handful I could actually afford if I want to make payments and high insurance rates for the next 5 years, of those cars they aren’t really that great. I look at the concept cars, I realize 98% of them will never see the open road, I eat my $8 hamburger from downstairs in the food court, and then I walk back out in the cold to go find my car in some parking garage I paid $12 to park at. Sure it was fun. But it gets old when you do it every year.
I’m writing about this because I just got off the phone with a buddy of mine who did go to the show this year. He said it was pretty uneventful and I realized I didn’t miss anything.
My biggest complaint is the concept cars. When I was a kid my folks would take a friend and I to the auto show and we’d just stare in awe at these concept cars. To us these were the cars of the future we thought we’d be seeing the coming year. And naively we seemed to think the same thing every year even though the cars were never released. I always wondered why they never released these cars.
As I got older I learned the meaning of the word “concept” and that even if these cars weren’t released a lot of times pieces of them were released in some form or another on actual production models. Be it the sound system or dashboard style or something. I also notice now that I’m an adult just how impractical so many of these concept cars are. But… there are some that aren’t.
Every once in a while at the auto show I’d see a concept car that would just floor me. It would be beautiful and appear to be practical, but for whatever reason it would never hit the market. Why? I really don’t know. I’m not that much of an auto insider to know these things. But it always strikes me as odd that they don’t release them. Maybe they don’t pass safety standards or whatever, I’m just guessing. But if they could they should.
Ford and GM are really in a tight position right now with so much competition. One think it would be better for them to play it safe and release practical cars. Personally neither of those companies really do practical very well and that’s probably why they are in trouble. Their build quality has been shoddy in the past and the styling of their cars has been hit or miss. So maybe they should just throw caution to the wind and start releasing their concept car designs. Of course if the reliability isn’t there no one will buy them anyway… but.
Just some thoughts.