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Nissan Friend-Me Concept brings new democracy to cabin design

By Bob Nagy on April 22, 2013 5:09 PM
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Created as a collaborative effort between Nissan Design China and Nissan Global Design Center to interest the country's 240 million 20-something males, the Nissan Friend-Me Concept pushes boundaries on all levels. According to François Bancon, Division General Manager of product strategy and advanced planning at Nissan, this target group is expected to influence 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." This intriguing one-off is the first step in opening what he sees as an ongoing dialogue.

Rendered in Neon Gray, the Friend-Me's avant-garde exterior takes the traditional sedan form to a new place, matching its low-slung profile with edgy character lines and aggressive contours set off by signature look "boomerang" shaped lighting elements and distinctive turbine-style alloy wheels. However, the truly unique element in the design mix is the egalitarian approach to its cabin layout.

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Sporting four individual bucket seats, each sharing the same sense of style and comfort, the Friend-Me's passenger compartment gives an unprecedented amount of control over various non-driving-related functions to each passenger along with full access to all pertinent system information on every level. The car is fitted with a full-length, onyx-black center console that has display screens visible from every seat that allow each individual to dial up music or other infotainment content that can be shared with any or all on board. And that's just for starters.

"Our console is like an oracle stone that gives the Friend-Me crew the power to look down the road ahead, over the horizon, through walls...to anywhere in the online world," said Taiji Toyota, Vice President of Nissan Design China. "As they cruise through an entertainment district, the console reveals the scenes playing out in each building they pass. We've anticipated where automotive online is destined to go -- and it's bound to be exciting." 

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As futuristic as that approach may be, Bancon stresses that the Friend-Me Concept is based around existing Nissan platform architecture that required only a limited number of unique parts to be adapted for this particular application. While offering few specific details, Nissan indicates the Friend-Me Concept would be fitted with one of its PureDrive hybrid powertrains that includes an ecologically responsible 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that would offer decent performance while delivering excellent fuel economy.

 

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