• Aug 20, 2010
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]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll say this about the concepts they are great and shows that the company who makes it is striving for something better and is not content which is great. Now with the sudden decline and their reasoning of the economy and the amount of money it takes to produce them all I can say is that its a excuse.

      Now hear me out first before you mok me for saying this. Others have already stated that the internet and the sudden globalization of cars makes creating a concept everyone will love all that much harder. Problem is I don't buy it, those people have if anything stated the solution. Why waste millions producing ONE concept car in the metal when you can have your design studio pump out numerous ones via the computer and put them up on the internet? Then if say one really stands out above the rest in peoples reactions then consider building the real thing to gauge the rest of the non-internet buying base. Yes I do admit this would have some flaws but at the same time it would save the automakers millions. Its a win-win, we see more concept cars and they save money.

      Ok now tear me apart thanks :D
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes you are, tho not completely...Information now is just too global. The market is saturated thoroughly with cars from students, young adults, and professionals. Years ago many of the concepts needed to be released to show the public what designers were thinking. Now, with just a click of a button you can get the same result in digital 3D. But the BIGGEST reason is people can't make up there minds if they want to pay for it. Building these cars are expensive, people wanna see them but then bitch when companies are spending millions on design (or say what a waste of money).

      Its a shame because they are far from a waste of money. They keep designers fresh (which is VERY important) and excite people about the brand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I still remember every detail of Ford's 1954 Atmos, even though I was only seven at the time. I remember my mom saying that must be to signify "atmosphere," and I was astonished at how smart she was to have figured that out. Aside from four foot fins, it had a row of one inch square lights across the front, only took fifty years to come close to that feature. Oh, and I still love the name "Dream Car!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      In a sense, I think we reached that "end" decades ago. When considering some of the ultra futuristic concepts of the 1950s and 60s I see this as a positive. You know, the ones with fins and wings that had you saying "yeah right"?

      The more realist concepts such as the 1999 Charger, Ford 49, Interceptor, etc make it easier for enthusiasts like ourselves to get excited about the possibility of such fine automobiles being built, and of course more disappointed when they are not.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well it will survive to some extent at least.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I LOVE THE CTS
      http://www.epinions.com/content_519962726020

      But I don't think Caddy's cars look good when they are long. The STS looked good when it was released but it goet dated really fast. The DTS looks geriatric despite the art&science theme.

      This concept looks like a Maybach Excelero - and if it cost any less than $100,000 it would be too cheap.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Sixteen now looks a bit dated, and I agree the proportions are a bit "off".

        Of all the recent Caddy concepts, I like the Cien best - pity it never went into production.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actual both STS and DTS especially are the reasons Caddy is not in the league with the big boys. Caddy should replace those ASAP.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Supposedly, the Sixteen was a production-intent concept -- had they had the money, they might well have built it.

        There will be a big six-figure Cadillac sometime in the next few years, but I doubt it'll be that far out there. Too bad.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think we're all better off, what's the sense of drooling over a car that is never going to make it to production.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Concepts are more than experiments in "what's (not) possible", they are also experiments in design. Concepts are a way for a manufacturer to put together a possibility of a car, maybe a radical departure from what they've done previously, show it to people at shows and gauge their response. While the entire car might not make it to production, it will influence design. Companies take note of what the people like, and the designers themselves get inspired and try different things, based on what their peers are doing.

        For the end user, sure, it comes off as a tease, but its still fun! And every once in a while, a concept actually makes it.

        Me, I'm still waiting for the flying cars. They promised me flying cars (and moon vacations, and exploration to Jupiter. Hello? HAL9000?!)
        • 4 Years Ago
        I totally get your point but a lot of concepts end up being so over the top that the only thing that makes it to production is the headlamps or a door handle
      • 4 Years Ago
      Careful Yaroukh that name alone is enough to get the tea baggers on here riled enough of accuse you killing Jebus. lol
        • 4 Years Ago
        lol well he's more liked than you apparently according to his status bar...might be something to do with not leaving stupid comments...
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is a sweet looking ride. Perhaps Cadillac will be replacing some of the void left by Pontiac's exit. www.westsideautopros.com
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gee do you think it might have something to do with the worst financial situation since the great depression? There was on in the seventies too. Do you think that was a coincidence?
        • 4 Years Ago
        dude it almost looks like you have actually read the article!
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