Created By: EnaiSiaionJanuary 14, 2013 Last Edited By: EnaiSiaionJanuary 19, 2013

We Will Not Have New Cars In The Future

There will be no new cars sold between the time the movie was made and the time it is set.

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Page Type:
Trope
You are making a movie set a few dozen years in the future. You need cars to populate your future backstreets and highways, but actually designing new cars that look like they rolled off a factory line in 2066 is difficult without GM sponsorship. So why not just buy a couple of cheap cars (preferably foreign cars which no one recognises), throw on some matte black paint, a bit of camouflage or mechanical kibble and hope the audience will not notice that every vehicle on the road is 50 years out of date.

This trope does not apply if an apocalypse happened that would put an end to car production.


Examples:

  • Children Of Men is set in 2027 and has a number of rare European MP Vs (Fiat Multipla, Renault Avantime) in matte grey camouflage paint and a banana yellow Citroen CX with vinyl prototype stickers. The effect is very convincing if you don't live in Europe.
  • Looper takes place in 2044 but the protagonist drives an obvious Miata. The background cars are 2012 daily drivers in drab colours with pipes and solar panels mounted on them.
  • Total Recall 2012 has a lot of Fiat 500s for a world set at the end of the 21st century, sometimes with CGI chrome to give them a slightly different shape.
  • Robocop had first generation Ford Tauruses (1986-1991) as police cruisers while being set around the year 2043.
  • Alien Nation was set in the near future with a cop teamed up with an alien. One episode had a criminal steal a AMC Pacer wagon (1975-1980) which was discontinued eight years before the series even started in 1988.
Video Games:
  • The Blade Runner PC game used this for the ground cars seen in several locations, most of which were recognizable as late-80s/early-90s production models. This appeared to be a stylistic use of Zeerust to help with the Earth That Used To Be Better aesthetic.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • January 14, 2013
    Larkmarn
    This is just Zeerust.
  • January 14, 2013
    EnaiSiaion
    Zeerust is when an attempt is made to create futuristic cars, but they look dated many years later (ie Death Race 2000, Demolition Man and its GM sponsorship). This trope is when a work set in 2050 has cars from 2010 with slight camouflage.
  • January 14, 2013
    EnaiSiaion
    Rewrote description.
  • January 14, 2013
    peccantis
    3013 doesn't "read" as a year... How about We Will Not Have Car Design In The Future?
  • January 14, 2013
    EnaiSiaion
    So it's basically No New Fashions In The Future but with cars. You could probably expand this trope to include machines, or technology in general, if you wished.

    • Robocop had first generation Ford Tauruses (1986-1991) as police cruisers while being set around the year 2043.
  • January 14, 2013
    peccantis
    No New Fashions OR Tech that would induce changes in design not dictated by fashion alone...
  • January 14, 2013
    Xtifr
    3013 is not twenty minutes into the future. Also, names that start with numbers are a bitch to deal with, JFYI.
  • January 15, 2013
    EnaiSiaion
    Well SOMEONE edited the title. :(
  • January 15, 2013
    EnaiSiaion
    Changed the title myself.

    I looked at the No New Fashions In The Future trope and it has pretty much nothing about cars. You think it could be expanded to include cars?

    (And I accidentally edited that reply because I wanted to quote the Robocop line and there is no Cancel button. Sorry bro.
  • January 15, 2013
    Chabal2
    Ghost In The Shell: the cars look like were come from the 1950s despite the series containing Mini Mecha and Artificial Intelligence.
  • January 15, 2013
    Jallen
    No sorry, I meant it was the car equivalent of the trope.

    • Alien Nation was set in the near future with a cop teamed up with an alien. One episode had a criminal steal a AMC Pacer wagon (1975-1980) which was discontinued eight years before the series even started in 1988.

  • January 15, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^^^If you click the pencil icon again you close the reply without saving it, leaving the original contributor's name intact.
  • January 15, 2013
    fulltimeD
    Some of Wim Wenders' films intentionally avert this, such as Million Dollar Hotel (came out in 2000, took place in 2001) and Until The End Of The World (filmed in the early 90's, set in 1999), which featured a number of futuristic cars alongside more modern and retro vehicles (and even a few Mad Max specials featured in Australia).
  • January 15, 2013
    StarSword
    Video Games:
    • The Blade Runner PC game used this for the ground cars seen in several locations, most of which were recognizable as late-80s/early-90s production models. This appeared to be a stylistic use of Zeerust to help with the Earth That Used To Be Better aesthetic.
  • January 15, 2013
    StarSword
    • The cars in the Fallout series all have 1950's styling, though they run on nuclear power. This is an intentional use of Zeerust on the part of the developers, since Fallout is set in an Alternate History where American society basically froze in The Fifties apart from nuclear technology.
  • January 19, 2013
    robinjohnson
    • An interesting variant of this occurs in the 1998 made-for-TV movie of Brave New World. The novel was published in 1931 and set at some unspecified future date. Rather than risk Zeerust by going for a futuristic look, the movie producers used '90s cars, computers and other technology.

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