Concepts test the waters, give hints about technology and styling
The reasons for creating a concept differ as much as the vehicles themselves.
An automaker might be trying to reinvent its image and create products that are uncharacteristic of the brand - the Honda Model X, for example. The company may want positive customer feedback before investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a new line.
Or the concept's intent may be to showcase technology that the automaker will offer in the near future. The Oldsmobile 04, for instance, has an instrument panel that can be configured by the driver, similar to the way the screen on a personal computer can be personalized.
The vehicle design may never see the light of day, but the ideas within might well live on. Remember Ford's 24.7 concepts last year, which keyed in on Internet usage?
Finally, a concept may be a mildly disguised production vehicle created to get the press and the public talking about upcoming redesigned models. The Cadillac Vizon, for example, is a strong indicator of where Cadillac is heading in the next several years.
Whatever the reason, here are some of the vehicles that stand out at this year's Detroit show.