A concept vehicle or show vehicle is a car made to showcase new styling and or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced.
General Motors designer Harley Earl is generally credited with inventing the concept car, and did much to popularize it through its traveling Motorama shows of the 1950s.
Concept cars never go into production directly; in modern times all would have to undergo many changes before the design is finalized for the sake of practicality, safety and cost. A "production-intent" vehicle, as opposed to a concept vehicle, serves this purpose.