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Nissan Friend-Me Concept

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On: Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 2:30PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Friend-Me Concept

Nissan latest concept car is described as a "four-passenger sedan designed for a generation with a different automotive outlook," a fact that's clear from its social-network-inspired name: Friend-ME. The concept car puts a Chinese-focused spin on technologically loaded small cars aimed at a new generation of auto buyers.

Nissan says the Friend-Me has a global appeal but was specifically designed based on the preferences of what it calls the largest auto demographic in the world: the Blínghòu, some 240 million Chinese born in the 1980s during China's one-child policy.

"Blínghòu males are a huge cohort in the world's largest market, and they're now reaching their prime," said François Bancon, Division General Manager of product strategy and advanced planning at Nissan. "Clearly, their tastes will shape automotive trends worldwide for decades to come. So we believe it's important to listen with respect, and respond by putting dreams within their reach. That's why Friend-ME is our first proposition in an ongoing dialogue."

As Bancon and Nissan see it, life without siblings has caused this cohort to value time with their peers even more so than other groups. The interior promotes social interaction amongst road-trippin' "peers" by giving each of the four seating positions access to the exact same information. Typically reserved for the driver, information such as speed, remaining fuel, and navigation appears on central front and rear screens for all to see. This could prove both useful—when a rear occupant notices that the fuel guage is nearing E, for instance—and painful, like when there are three back-seat drivers telling the driver to slow down. Those same center screens serve to allow for sharing of content—presumably powered by the Internet—between occupants.

When it comes to the exterior styling of the Friend-ME, Nissan sought a sort of yin-yang balance. "We call our solution Distilled Da Qi," said Taiji Toyota, Vice President of Nissan Design China. "Da Qi is about casting an aura, about standing out, but at the same time going with the flow, fitting in. It's a question of balance, and we've worked to refine it right down to the essence. The result adds an entirely new and youthful dimension to the sedan category."

On the one hand, the Friend-ME is muscular and injected with a variety of eye-catching flowing lines. On the other hand, it's a small four-door that should blend comfortably on highways and in parking lots. We love the panoramic glasshouse and floating roof.

Not surprisingly Nissan imagines the Friend-ME as a hybrid, utilizing a PureDrive hybrid powertrain with 2.0-liter engine.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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