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Auto show concepts: Would you build them or forget them?

Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen brand, poses with VW I.D. Buzz concept car

Auto makers look to past for concept car inspiration

DETROIT (AP) — Car companies don't just show current models at auto shows. They also unveil prototypes that could be built in the future. These so-called concept cars help them gauge the public's reaction to new designs or technology. They can also amp up excitement about a company's future.

These are some of the concept vehicles on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the public Saturday. As show visitors check out these concepts they should ask themselves: Would I build it or bag it?


The latest incarnation of VW's groovy, 1960s minibus is the I.D. Buzz. VW says I.D. stands for "identity" and "iconic design." The "buzz" refers to the whirring sound of the electric drive system, which can take the minivan up to 270 miles on a charge. The I.D. Buzz seats up to eight and lets the driver's seat face the rear when the minivan is in self-driving mode. VW minibuses haven't been sold in the U.S. since the 1970s, but the company has released several concepts over the years that take their styling cues from the beloved minibus. This one would fit neatly with VW's goal of selling 1 million electric vehicles annually by 2025.

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