Attention all Chinese males between the ages of 23 and 33! Nissan has a new car for you, and they really want you to like it. The worst part? You probably will. Introducing the Nissan Friend-ME, a futuristic almost-hatchback sedan from Japan’s second largest auto manufacturer.
We really knew nothing about the Nissan Friend-ME before it’s unveiling at Auto Shanghai 2013. We had a single teaser image to go from, but it didn’t show very much. You’ll see if you go back to our preview article, all we knew is that somehow this car would make passengers and driver into an equal community.
Perfectly Targeted Towards its Target Market
Now that we can see the Nissan Friend-ME “in the metal”, it’s clear that everything about this concept was designed to appeal to the male Chinese socialite. The design is aggressive and sleek, the interior is futuristic and cool, and it apparently makes riding in the car just as fun as driving it.
Nissan’s press materials confirm the purpose of the Friend-ME Concept. It is to appeal to the world’s single largest market segment, the Bālínghòu, which are the 240M Chinese born in the 1980s. Nissan is particularly targeting men.
François Bancon, Division General Manager of Product Strategy at Nissan, points out that “Bālínghòu males are a huge cohort in the world’s largest market, and they’re now reaching their prime. Clearly, their tastes will shape automotive trends worldwide for decades to come.” In other words, Nissan is getting a head start on the future by targeting this specific market now.
Bancon goes on to say in a video that “[the Bālínghòu] want something that will fit their own individual personal tastes, but at the same time they are in a sharing mood.” Thus, we have the Nissan Friend-ME.
Democracy Through the Oracle-Stone-esque Center Console
I’ll let you evaluate the Friend-ME’s design for yourself (I personally think it’s refreshing); what I’d like to discuss now is the social aspect of the concept.
Bancon makes it clear that the Friend-ME was designed to allow for maximum individual space, while simultaneously encouraging everyone to participate in the driving experience. An expansive center console spans from the dashboard to the rear seats, allowing each passenger access to pertinent driving information, music playlists, social networking and sharing all from one system and screen. I highly recommend you look at the included images to see for yourself what this console looks like.
Unfortunately, while the exterior design is thrilling and the interior features are innovative, we hardly know anything about specs. This makes sense since specs really aren’t what Nissan is trying to impress its market with. All we know is that the Friend-Me will feature a PureDrive hybrid powertrain with a “modest 2.0-liter” engine.
In the end, I’m very satisfied with the Nissan Friend-ME Concept. I think it’s very well done as far as concept cars go. While I’m sure there will be dramatic changes between what we’ve seen in Shanghai and what will eventually make it to production, I’m excited to see how it turns out.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Auto Shanghai 2013 coverage tomorrow.