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Nissan Launching Virtual Showroom With Microsoft Kinect Hardware

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On: Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 11:14AM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Launching Virtual Showroom With Microsoft Kinect Hardware

Nissan recently revealed the 2013 Pathfinder on Facebook. While it chose not to use a hard auto show debut, it did show the new model at both the 2012 Chicago and New York auto shows. In the absence of a physical model, Nissan used a Microsoft Kinect for Windows-based interactive system to reveal the car at those shows. It's now bringing that system to select dealerships, allowing customers to take a tour before the actual model has even launched.

Nissan calls it the Pathfinder Kinect Experience. Each of 16 participating dealerships will use a Kinect for Windows-based kiosk to provide virtual tours. Instead of pointing and clicking like you would on a virtual Web tour, you use natural body motions to inspect the car. The Experience essentially mimics a physical "kicking the tires"-style inspection.

For now, customers will only be able to access the Kinect-based virtual tours at participating dealerships from August through November. The dealerships are located in or near major cities, including Denver, LA, Miami, New York and Phoenix. Nissan says that it could be the basis of a larger program that would allow customers to use their home-based Kinect systems to take virtual tours.

"Nissan is one of the first automakers to use Kinect for Windows technology in its dealerships. We are committed to driving innovation not only in the design of our vehicles, but also in how we go to market," explains Jon Brancheau, vice president, Marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. "The Pathfinder application using Kinect for Windows is a game changer in terms of the way we can engage with our customers. We're taking our marketing to the next level, creating experiences that enhance the act of discovery, and generating excitement about new models before they're even available. It's a powerful pre-sales tool that has the potential to redefine the way consumers think about the dealer experience."

If you want to learn about the 2013 Pathfinder station wagon crossover without the fanfare and dealership trip, take a look at our article about its reveal.

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dwalter | 5:07PM (Fri, Aug 31, 2012)

It's a cool concept, but it seems like it'd be a pain to actually use. I wonder if they'll release something on XBox Live for those with a Kinect at home.

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