What Happened to the Future?

The 112th annual Chicago Auto Show just ended the other day.

February 22, 2013
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

The 112th annual Chicago Auto Show just ended the other day. After a long hiatus, I attended the event to check out the displays and see what’s new.Atlas Concept Award

In the past, the highlight of the show for me (and many others) has always been the concept cars. But, I was disappointed by the lack of innovation on display. What’s happened to all those cool futuristic concept cars of the past? Are automakers afraid to stick their necks out these days?

I recently came across some old brochures I picked up at the Chicago Auto Show back in 1996. One was touting the Ford Synergy 2010. Ever heard of it?

The Synergy was a diesel-electric hybrid that boasted 80 mpg. It had a 1-liter direct-injection diesel engine in the rear and electric motors attached to each wheel. The car’s most distinguishing feature was its aerodynamic aluminum body with unique-looking front fenders that acted as manifolds.

As I recall, this car created a lot of attention at the time, appearing on several nonautomotive magazine covers. But, I couldn’t find anything similar to the Synergy at this year’s show.

Ford’s concept vehicle-du-jour was the Atlas pickup truck. It wasn’t too much to get excited about and lacked any kind of Wow! factor. In fact, it was boring and looked similar to just about any other vehicle in its class. By the way, I’m not just picking on Ford—other automakers are equally guilty.

Now that the auto industry is coming back stronger than ever, isn’t it time for automakers to start getting creative again when it comes to concept cars? Enough with the boring designs—let’s see some creativity.
 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Assembly Magazine.

Recent Articles by Austin Weber

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Behind the Scenes at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

People are the heart and soul of the 2012 Assembly Plant of the Year. This slideshow shows some of the men and women who build three different types of electrified vehicles alongside traditional gas-powered cars on the auto industry’s most flexible assembly line—Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos courtesy Ford Motor Co.

Podcasts

Live from The Assembly Show, the hosts of Manufacturing Revival Radio sit down with Adam Malofsky, Ph.D., president and CEO of Bioformix to discuss his company’s innovative, energy-saving adhesives and polymers, which cure without the need for heat or light. 

More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

Assembly Magazine

april assembly cover

2014 April

The 2014 April Assembly includes a cover story about robots and small manufacturers plus much more. Check it out today!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Immigration Reform

Could immigration reform benefit U.S. manufacturers?
View Results Poll Archive

THE ASSEMBLY MAGAZINE STORE

welding.gif
Welding: Principles & Practices

This text introduces students to a solid background in the basic principles and practices of welding.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Assembly Showrooms

ASSEMBLY Showrooms

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40px