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What Are Concept Cars, And Why Build Them? Renault Explains Page 2

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Renault R-Space Concept

Renault R-Space Concept

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Producing a one-off

Concept cars could easily be described as priceless, though they do occasionally get sold to the highest bidder, such as the Ford Thunderbird and Shelby GR-1 concepts up for auction at RM Monterey. As one-off objects they don't benefit from the economies of scale afforded by a production line and must be painstakingly hand-crafted, with many parts made from scratch solely for the concept.

"We go to a sub-contractor, a body shop," explains Janin. "specialized in car parts fabrication... in a concept car many parts are handmade - they're true artisans".

The "production" stage of the concept car also allows the team to get a real impression whether some aspects of the design work or not, such as the materials used on the interior, or the paint finish chosen on computer. These aspects then have a chance to be changed before the car makes its debut in front of the world's press.

It's not an easy process - none of Renault's concepts are solely static displays, meaning they all have working drivetrains, and any component that may work on a production car has to work on the concept, so seats must move, doors must open and buttons on the dashboard must function.

A year and a half of work

All this designing, sculpting and perfecting takes around 18 months before the car is finally loaded into a trailer and transported to motor shows around the world.

"We have one single objective together, which is to push innovation to the farthest... it's to project into the future and dream, imagine what it will be" says Janin.

In a world where the car is often derided as the bringer of doom, we love the hope and insight that concept cars from carmakers like Renault brings to the industry. You can watch Renault's concept car video on the Renault concept cars website.

AllCarTech will be reporting from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show from September 13 and we're sure to bring you the best of the concepts from every manufacturer.

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