Car Talk: Detroit Auto Show

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Well, it’s that time of year again, over the next several months there will be auto shows a plenty. The most recent being the 2012 Detroit auto show. For those of you that don’t follow the automotive scene let me break down auto shows like this. There are three categories of cars that debut or are shown, the concept car, the new model debut and the redesign.

The most highly anticipated of the three categories are the concept car. This is exactly what it sounds like. These are cars that are purely concepts or “design studies” as they are being referred to these days. It is these cars that have absolutely no chance of being a production model. Simply speaking you won’t be able to buy this car ever. Now, follow with me this is where it gets tricky, just because they are design studies doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get something very similar in the upcoming years. Yes, I know they aren’t concepts if you can buy them a few years later, let me explain. Let’s take the Acura NSX Concept as an example. This year the NSX is a concept car as it says in the title, however I predict that in 2-4 years there will be a new NSX in showrooms. The difference is that during the concept phase of development automakers can say their cars will have all sorts of great things. A common claim these days is that it will get 100 miles per gallon and only produce spit as a by-product. The truth is lots of things will change between concept and production. Back to the NSX, this car will make it to production the engine will be different I’m sure parts of the body will vary greatly and there will actually be a functional interior as well. So, there you have a concept car that you can’t buy turns into a new model car that you can.

The second of the three categories is the new model debut. This is exactly what it sounds like. This is where a car company debuts its newest model of cars. Take the 2013 Cadillac ATS (Pictured Above) as an example. This car is past the concept stage and has been in development for years with Cadillac engineers. This is the first show where the production ready model is being shown. They usually explain both interior, exterior, and engine options at the show.

The third and final category is the redesign. This is very basic. It is simply an established model of car that has been redesigned and updated for the next sales year. An example is the 2013 Mercedes Benz SL. The update can range from just a mild exterior tweaking to all new car inside and out. The main difference between the new model debut is that it wasn’t a new model in the lineup it was simply that the car needed refreshing to be competitive once again.

So, what this means is that at any give car show you are seeing the future of the automotive world. The only difference is you are either seeing the future 1 year from now or the future 10 years from now depending on what you are looking at. No matter what the case is it always relevant, we are looking at exactly what we love, exactly what we dream and that is always cool.

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