2013: Concept cars embrace living large

http://machinedesign.com/article/concept-vehicles-embrace-living-large-0205

After a handful of years of small electric and hybrid vehicles, designers went back to rethink SUVs and Crossovers, but several are high-mileage hybrids. There were also a few supercar concepts, as well as one economy model that can show drive-in movies on any plain white wall.

2012: A glimpse at the future

http://machinedesign.com/article/concept-cars-2012-a-glimpse-of-the-future-0322

This year’s auto show had power plants bit for everyone: electric-only vehicles, gas-burning performance or economy, and a few hybrids of the two. And designers shoehorned those engines and motors into a wide array of slickly styled vehicles covering everything from micromini pickups to flashy high-performance supercars.

2011: Less flash, more practical

http://machinedesign.com/article/2011-concept-cars-less-flash-more-practical-0419

For 2011, car engineers had a go at SUVs, vans, and trucks, bringing them up to date. They also turbocharged a few smaller engines, getting more power from smaller packages.

2010: Concept cars from 2010 Detroit Auto Show

http://machinedesign.com/article/concept-cars-from-detroit-auto-show-2010-0205

For the second straight year, hybrids and all-electric cars dominated the automakers’ concept-car line up. They were also more functional than flashy. Several car companies, including Ford and Honda, decided not so show any concept vehicles. And several concept vehicles looked similar to current showroom offerings, at least on the outside.

2009: Concept cars run on electricity

http://machinedesign.com/article/2009-concept-cars-run-on-electricity-0316

A less flashy batch of concept cars for 2009 showcase a combination of energy-saving drivetrains and driver-centered electronics aimed at safety and comfort. No one at the this year’s North American International Auto Show was surprised to see a continuing focus on “green.” Despite a sour economy, automakers emphasized plug-in electric cars, hybrids, fuel-cell concepts, and clean diesels. But many ideas for boosting mpg seemed to target consumers trying to economize on gas rather than the green crowd. And while advanced electronics are eking more efficiency out of fuel-injection systems and transmissions, they are also playing a larger role in the passenger compartment for safety, navigation, and entertainment.

2008: Concept Cars of a Different Color …Green

http://machinedesign.com/article/concept-cars-of-a-different-color-green-0410

Some years it’s all about style. Other years, it’s performance or electronic wizardry. But this year, escalating energy costs and concerns about global warming have designers scrambling for the best technologies to wring the last drop of energy from their futuristic concepts. Here’s a look at some of the contenders for the green throne.

2007: Back To The Future: Is retro a thing of the past?

http://machinedesign.com/article/back-to-the-future-is-retro-a-thing-of-the-past-0412

This year's concepts are mostly forward-thinking — with the partial exception of Ford's Airstream, a combination of Haight-Ashbury, sci-fi, and iconic design. Technology takes a front seat in this year's batch of concepts and Nature comes along for the ride (see the Mazda Ryuga). And the Chevy Volt debuts.

2006: "What dreams may come"

http://machinedesign.com/article/what-dreams-may-come-0413

Carmakers are looking backward in time, at environmental impact, and even to aircraft, to spark consumer interest. But luxury is still king for many designers working to bring all the comforts of home, and then some, to our four-wheeled ego extensions.

2005: Dream a little dream

http://machinedesign.com/article/dream-a-little-dream-0401

Concept cars that make their debut here used to appear and disappear like rabbits in a hat, never to be seen again. But automakers are now turning some concepts into actual production vehicles at a quick clip. At this year's show, automakers didn't disappoint. Vehicles ran the gamut from a compact armored truck to a 500-hp sports car, promising an interesting future indeed.

2003: Wild horses

http://machinedesign.com/article/wild-horses-0417

If the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is any indication, muscle cars are still "in." Automakers paraded a variety of big-engine, high-horsepower concept vehicles. At least for the near future, it seems, vehicles that can lay rubber will remain part of American culture. To be fair, Toyota announced that electric/gasoline-hybrid technology will show up on its Lexus RX 330 SUV around 2005. The company also premiered the Fine-S fuel-cell concept, a four-seater sports car promising zero emissions. Ford Motor Co. debuted its Model U concept, a takeoff on Henry Ford's Model T, powered by a supercharged hydrogen internal-combustion engine with a hybrid-electric transmission. But clean-technology vehicles were minor announcements compared to the glut of supercharged, big-engine concept vehicles that dominated the show.

2001: Automakers reveal their concepts of the future

http://machinedesign.com/article/automakers-reveal-their-concepts-of-the-future-0322

Car companies unveil a wide variety of show cars, including what would become the Chrysler Crossfire. There were also a reimagined Thunderbird and a VW van.