There’s a big difference between a sporting concept car and an automobile set to see production. Innovative real-world cars and trucks take years of product development and huge investments by automakers. Should their bet on superior technology and a willing consumer base fail, it could damage the company’s reputation and profits for years.
This is why so many exciting ideas and concepts never really take off. They’re simply too much of a risk for big companies to take.
The world’s top auto shows are typically where top automakers are ready to introduce cars that will drive their brands in very different directions. This is done to feel out consumer interest and create brand buzz, among other things. In some instances, it means a model known for excess will get an electric motor; in others, it involves a famously durable pickup truck getting a new suit of armor.
At other times, we’ll see rare cars and trucks that buck industry trends. At the end of the day, these vehicles share one thing in common: They are calculated risks. Need some examples? Here are 15 vehicles that represent major gambles for automakers. Some are on the market. Some will be soon. Industry execs and insiders will be watching to see what happens.