The 2009 Detroit Auto Show is all about the futuristic eco-concept car. But will they ever be built? Maybe. We've decided to rank them in order of their likelihood of ever hitting showroom floors.
The trend towards building concept cars which hint at the near future, as opposed to creating vehicles for some rocket-powered utopia of the 24th century, accelerated at this year's show thanks to some serious pushing and prodding in the way of higher gas prices in the first half of the year and government dollars in the latter half.
But will they ever see the light of day? Many of them won't, a handful may (depending on the economy) and a few will absolutely. The concepts below are ranked based on the probability they could see production in a mostly complete form, starting with the least likely and ending with a car, at number one, almost certain to go on sale.
Likelihood of production: Less Than 1%
Why / Why Not: The 200C EV looks like a future Chrysler vehicle insomuch as it looks like a blend of Hyundai and every other mid-size on the market — boring. Still, considering the segment, it's not too shabby looking and sans the auto show touches this could be a Chrysler Sebring replacement if fitted with a conventional power source. If they ever produce another Sebring.
10.) Jeep Patriot EV
Likelihood of production: 5%
Why / Why Not: It's a Jeep Patriot. With electric power! And by "with electric power" we mean it has stickers proclaiming the car as an electric vehicle. The Patriot, a vehicle with an extremely high coefficient of drag, seems very inefficient as a gasoline vehicle and hilariously inefficient as an electric. We're not holding our breath.
9.) Dodge Circuit EV
Likelihood of production: 8-10%
Why / Why Not: Based on an existing Lotus platform, there's not much engineering Chrysler would have to do to the vehicle to make it a reality — just slap that crossbared-front end on and call it a day. Still, even if Chrysler can grab an electric power source and battery supplier we're still without much hope for the vehicle. Why? Our lack of faith in Chrysler's electric, or any other, future.
Likelihood of production: 20%
Why / Why Not: There's a lot to like about the C Concept, including the Ford small car global platform and the theoretical four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. We're not sure if Lincoln will actually go in this direction, but we'd love to see a car pull out the C's gorgeous interior and advanced SYNC 2.0.
Likelihood of production: 30%
Why / Why Not: GM may be on the verge of introducing their next batch of green technology, but the first vehicle it will be fitted to will not be a Cadillac. Should the Volt succeed, a Cadillac version isn't out of the picture — especially considering the price point. Hey, if Lexus can roll with a re-badged Prius at a higher price point, why can't the General?
Likelihood of production: 35%
Why / Why Not: We were going to rank the Kia Soul-atracker-amino closer to the least likely car, despite its production Soul underpinnings, and then an auto journalist we respect said he wanted one. So there we go — market potential if only for the So Cal auto-journo market.
Likelihood of production: 36%
Why / Why Not: Volkswagen's sister Audi already produces a mid-engined roadster, so the idea of a VW one powered by their beloved TDI engine isn't so far fetched. The lack of the usual concept accessories also points to the possibility of such a vehicle.
Likelihood of production: 55%
Why / Why Not: The Toyota FT-EV, based on the existing Toyota iQ micro car, may not keep the gold paint but it will almost certainly go into production given Toyota's plans for just such a car in the small econobox segment.
Likelihood of production: 80%
Why / Why Not: Will Volvo produce another S60? We think so. The styling is radical for the brand's typical image but inline with recent product like the Volvo XC60. We just hope it keeps the viking longboat headlights.
2.5.) Fisker Karma S Sunset
Likelihood of production: 85%
Why / Why Not: Essentially a convertible version of the hardtop, they're already saying this is the "World's First Hybrid Convertible" and have announced they'll build it alongside the sedan version.
Likelihood of production: 90%
Why / Why Not: Give it shiny pearl paint and a "Vote No On Prop 8" bumper sticker and everyone would think it's the new Subaru Legacy because, we expect, there will be a new Subaru Legacy. Some of the heavily worked aspects will probably be toned down but the attractive design is an evolution of what's out there now.
Likelihood of production: 99.9%
Why / Why Not: This concept, mostly in this form, will come to the market as the 2010 Audi A5 Sportback. Our source for this great information? Audi told everyone in their press conference. Pontiac may build excitement but Audi sure knows how to build the suspense.