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Shanghai show: Nissan Friend-Me lads-only night rider

Chinese take-away: Friend-me shows Nissan is shaping future cars to appeal to one of China’s most influential groups of buyers – males aged in their 30s.

Tech-savvy blokes look good cruising dark city streets in Nissan’s Friend-Me concept


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22 Apr 2013

CHINA’S one-child policy has spawned a fun-loving youth-oriented concept car from Nissan that is optimised for cruising neon-lit city streets.

Featuring “head-turning style for youth who clock mobility in kilobits per second”, the hybrid-powered Friend-Me is an internet-friendly car with a sculpted body “specially developed to appeal to tech-savvy youthful tastes – (and) show its lines to full effect at night”.

Featuring a Range Rover Evoque-style floating roof dominated by a sharp kick on the rear pillar, the exterior of the four-door, four-seat Friend-Me is marked with bold lines, boomerang head- and tail-lights, and shapely arches to give it a coupe-style appearance.

According to Nissan, the 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid is designed to target the “Balinghou," the name given to a generation of more than 240 million mainly male Chinese born in the 1980s under the socialist state’s one-child policy.

“For a generation that grew up without siblings, leisure time shared with peers is treasured,” Nissan said.

“That time – usually at night – tastes sweetest when four buddies are in their own private space. Yet they can share adventures by connecting virtually in a car where all feel equal.”

Inside, the Friend-me features an “oracle stone” centre console that runs right through to the rear of the cabin. That allows each of the Friend-me’s occupants to decide whether they want to interact with the other people in the car, or go it alone.

According to Nissan, the car is able to wirelessly connect with the buildings it drives past, and alert the occupants if anything of interest is happening.

“Screens visible from each seat blend seamlessly with the (console’s) surface, only becoming apparent as they display whatever contents the buzz of the moment demands,” Nissan said.

“Whoever finds cool content can ‘toss’ it from his mobile (phone) to the on-board screens so all can share in the fun.”

According to Nissann China’s youth market is becoming increasingly important for car-makers.

Nissan general manager of product strategy and advanced planning, Francois Bancon, said: “Balinghou 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. 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."

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