1. Smart For-Us pickup
The Smart brand of microcars owned by Mercedes-Benz wouldn’t exist in the United States except for Mercedes’ need to meet fuel economy rules. Turning a Smart into a tiny pickup, then crippling it with an electric motor renders a vehicle that for all its fun graphics couldn’t do much more than golf course duty.
2. Volkswagen e-Bugster
It’s long past time that simply putting an electric motor into a regular model, or building a concept with a lower roof than a production model sparked much enthusiasm. Volkswagen did both for the e-Bugster, which offered little new except for what VW called the “pure theatre” of its start-up system.
3. Chevrolet 130-R
Chevy says its done research with 9,000 young potential customers to find out what they want in a new car. The result was two coupe concepts; the 140S front-wheel-drive model that seemed mostly derivative but bland, and the 130R, a rear-wheel-drive idea with bits too close to the BMW 1M but lacking any power (only 150 hp in the concept). It did have gold wheels, though.
4. Lincoln MKZ
The relaunch of the Lincoln brand should begin in earnest with the production version of this MKZ concept arrives later this year. But it will sit across the showroom from the new Fusion, offering the same chassis with somewhat nicer interior bits and a less-attractive exterior a higher price. When the company’s touting that the perforations in the seat leather resembles champagne bubbles, you know they’re stretching.
5. Honda Accord Coupe
Like the Lincoln MKZ, the Accord coupe is a “concept” that’s only slightly different than a production version. And like the Lincoln, it suffers from a blandness that’s only magnified under the auto show lights. If it looks like a model from two years ago here, it’s not going to do well under the bright lights of a showroom floor, let alone an auto show.