Cadillac Sixteen Concept – Click above for high-res image

It certainly feels that way. Whereas our show halls were once a glittering homage to what could be if pesky things like cost, physics and safety were no object, automakers are beginning to shy away from overtly wild concepts. Byron Pope from Wards Auto has taken the time to interview a slew of designers from companies like Ford, Toyota and Honda to figure out why manufacturers are abandoning their whimsical concepts. Not surprisingly, the answer has a lot to do with the financial times we live in. With most concepts costing millions of dollars to produce, few automakers are willing to expend those kind of resources on something that won't do much for public perception.

But fear not, all is not lost. According to Pope, the industry goes through cycles of wild design boom and bust. In the years following the great depression, concepts took a turn for the realistic, followed by an explosion of design that would eventually lead to the likes of Motorama. Likewise, concepts disappeared once again when the fuel crisis of the '70s hit, only to be resurrected in the late '80s and early '90s. Our guess is that if futuristic design studies are your cup of tea, give the industry some time. They'll surface again.

[Source: Wards Auto]