The 2003 Tokyo Show and the design innovations on the Nissan stand both underlined the company’s increasingly intensive search for a distinctively Japanese cultural basis for its automotive products under the aegis of Shiro Nakamura.
In this issue of Auto & Design, Wim Oude Weernink analyses four of Nissan’s proposals for its range in the more or less imminent future. Among them, two of the models on display focused on the application of Japanese cultural tradition to automotive design, while the other two concentrated on exploring new technological and conceptual frontiers.
Design in its purest sense was most evident on the Jikoo, an attractive little roadster that offers a blend of borrowings from Nissan’s own seventy-year history and delicate touches inspired by the nation’s far older cultural traditions. It is the Serenity, on the other hand, that would appear to be closest to mass production. Nissan describes it as a new generation multi-functional MPV saloon that combines capaciousness with sporty luxury, both interpreted in a distinctively Japanese key.
The Effis city car and the Redigo SUV, both Segment B models, could hardly be more different from the Jikoo and the Serenity, but they are equally innovative in technological and conceptual content.
Only 383 cm long it may be, but the Redigo is not simply a miniaturised version of Nissan’s current SUV archetype, offering as it does an original, functional design and rounded trim details to soften its basically boxy shape. Nissan describes the Effis as a three-and-a-half-seater. That might make you suspect wasted interior space, but it actually reflects an unusually flexible seating system. And just to maximise the flexibility of the Effis interior, even the instrument panel rotates on a horizontal plane.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 144