What are concept cars? An overview

What are concept cars? Concept cars are a way for carmakers to test new ideas and gauge public reaction. 

We can help you find the most popular concept cars, but we’ll also show you how these crazy-looking vehicles have influenced production models over the years.

The history of concept cars

The auto industry, like most industries, has trends that come and go. Some of these trends show themselves through aesthetics – think “grill” style in the 1930s and 1950s or more recent trends such as coupes with sloping backward or cars with an extremely short front end. Other latest trends include downsizing and turbocharging engines to improve fuel economy and give more horsepower (at least in theory).

One of the latest trends in the concept car, a vehicle that displays possible future technologies or design ideas for current production vehicles. Concept cars can be traced back to as early as 1933 with the Buick Y-Job. This 2 door coupe was designed by Harley Earl and had some of the latest and futuristic technology at the time such as “flush-mounted window” and “airfoil fins on rear fenders”.

What is a Concept Car?

Manufacturers build concept cars mostly as design studies to discover which elements work and which do not. They also enable the assessment of public opinion, which aids in determining whether the car needs to go through the process of becoming a mass-produced vehicle. Many of today’s cars were original concepts, but the process always starts with a design sketch.

What is a Concept Car?
What is a Concept Car?

While there’s no such thing as a standard definition for a concept car, some general guidelines can be established. 

First off, most concept cars will go through multiple designs before arriving at their final look. 

Secondly, concept cars typically represent idealized or futuristic designs for vehicles, not the actual production models. 

Lastly, concept cars are often created to test consumer reaction and give an idea of what’s popular at the time. Because of this the first year a concept car is released is usually considered its model year, even though it may never actually go on sale.

The Purpose of a Concept Car

Car companies do not need to show concept cars to the public, as they can easily test them in-house before any plans of putting them in production, but they do so anyway. The reason is that they have goals that are not achieved by testing cars within their own company.

The first goal is to see how people react to their design and determine whether or not they would buy it if it were put into production. If no one reacts positively to the concept car, then there is no point in putting it into production because they would not be able to sell any. 

Car companies do not want to waste their time and money producing cars that people will not buy, so they need to see how people react before they even begin to think about production.

The Purpose of a Concept Car
The Purpose of a Concept Car

The second goal a car company has is to determine whether or not they can actually make the car that they are showing off. If they are testing for one purpose, then there is a chance that they will also test for other purposes while they are at it.

For example, if a car company is showing off a new front end for one of their cars but they also need to test the engine in the same vehicle, then they will need to test both at the same time. They would not be able to do this if they were testing in an in-house facility, which is why they decide to do it in public.

Design Process of concept cars

The approach starts with a rough notion on paper. (A business case and market study may be used to verify viability and utility) From then, the design is frequently updated and polished throughout the process until it is ready for the showroom.

Here are steps from ideas to concept cars

  • Sketching on Paper
  • Modeling product samples on the computer and by clay
  • Full Modelling by Sketching and modeling of the interior, controlling Dashboard, designing Colors and materials.
  • Approval of the Model
  • Begin to make a concept production.


What is the first concept car?

The industry’s first concept car is The Buick Y-Job of 1938

The Buick Y-Job of 1938 
The Buick Y-Job of 1938

What’s the best concept car?

Here are some best concept cars of all time

  • 2015 Aston Martin DB10.
  • Aston Martin Lagonda “Vision” 
  • 1992 BMW E1.
  • 2008 BMW GINA.
  • 1938 Buick Y-Job.
  • 2008 Citroen GT by Citroen.
  • 1980 Citroen Karin. 
  • 1970 Ferrari 512 S Modulo.

The future of concept cars

The coming years should be a boom in technology. We’re in the midst of an electric car invasion, and new EV pickup trucks are flooding the market. There are more and more supercar and hypercar debuts this year than ever before.

Some examples of famous concept cars sample:

  • 2021 Lucid Air
  • 2022 Aston Martin Vanquish
  • 2022 Cadillac Escala
  • 2022 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 2023 Genesis Essentia
  • 2023 Hyundai RM20 N
  • 2023 Porsche 911 Hybrid
  • 2025 Dodge Challenger / Charger
  • 2025 Cadillac Celestia
  • 2025 Lamborghini Sedan


Concept cars are a glimpse of what we can expect in the future. They’re not always for sale and they don’t exist to replace regular production vehicles, but rather serve as an inspiration or idea that automakers put out into the world. There is no set formula for how companies should design them; some may aim to be more radical while others simply focus on improving their current models. Regardless of intent, one thing remains true about concept cars—they will never go out of style!


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