240 million Chinese born in the 1980s, known as the “Bālínghòu,” are a tempting audience for an automotive company to target, especially with a green vehicle design idea. Nissan has done just this, showcasing in Shanghai recently its Friend-Me concept hybrid.
“Bālínghòu 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, in a statement. “Clearly, their tastes will shape automotive trends worldwide for decades to come.”
Keeping this in mind, the Friend-Me is designed with “an assertive, imposing exterior featuring boldly flowing sculpted lines,” according to Nissan, that help give it “an edgy muscularity.” It is a four passenger sedan which isn’t like what’s typically marketed on dealership lots – that’s at least what you are supposed to get from it – and instead offers up exterior highlights like headlamps and rear combination lamps that “are accentuated by its unique boomerang shaped lighting signature” and a special “Neon Gray” body paint that goes after a “tech-savvy” youthful appeal.
What’s described as an efficient “PureDrive hybrid powertrain” would exist under the hood of the Friend-Me, and reportedly would offer more than enough horsepower to let one get around the city pleasantly. On the car’s interior, meanwhile, Nissan has made it such that all four seats are “ separate with the same high-tech style and status, because in this cabin all aboard are peers – equals. And all share the same information as the driver: speed, navigation, fuel remaining – everything.”
How does this idea of sharing play out exactly? Through a special center console stretching from the dash to between the rear seats that’s in an onyx-black finish. Screens visible from each seat become apparent “as they display whatever contents the buzz of the moment demands. Whoever finds cool content can transfer it from his mobile to the on-board screens.”
Again, as with other concepts, don’t expect the Nissan Friend-Me to be something you’ll see the Chinese, or anyone else, driving around. The social aspects of this design though are something powerful to consider in the building of future automobiles.