Nissan introduces Friend-ME concept in Shanghai

Nissan has unveiled – or teased, at least – the Friend-ME concept four-passenger sedan. The newest car from the Japanese automaker has global aspiration but was designed to cater to the world’s largest single market segment: the “B?línghòu,” or the 240 million Chinese born in the 1980s. To be more specific: the Friend-ME seeks to attract Chinese men in their mid-20s.

B?línghòu 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.”

Nissan’s conventional wisdom pegs the Friend-ME concept’s exterior to address a fine balance that middle-class B?línghòu strive to define.

“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.”

Friend-ME has a low and wide stance with short front and rear overhangs. The car sports a ‘V-motion’ shaped grille and streams through the bonnet and shoulder lines while the headlamps and rear combination lamps are accentuated by a boomerang-shaped lighting signature. The Neon Grey exterior color makes the Friend-ME more pronounced at night.

Inside, front and back, driver and passenger, all four seats are separate with the same high-tech style and status and everyone has access to the information as the driver, including speed, navigation and fuel remaining. This is done through center console that rests between the dash to between the rear seats.

Nissan Friend-ME is based on existing Nissan sedan architecture but requires a minimum of unique components. The concept features PureDrive hybrid powertrain and is a collaboration between design teams from Nissan Design China – the Beijing studio established in 2011 – and Nissan Global Design Center under the leadership and direction of Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. Friend-ME is one of the first Nissan forays into China’s unique market needs.

Nissan hasn’t announced Friend-ME prices and availability.

Photo Credit: Nissan

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