Nissan Friend-ME Concept in Shanghai Auto Show – Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.. or should you?
Nissan is set to excite Auto Shanghai 2013 with the global unveiling of their new concept car, Friend-ME, on April 20. Chinese designers working at Nissan Design China in Beijing were fully engaged in the design and development process of Friend-ME, which features an unique center console that allows “Four Seats, One Mind Connectivity” – equal information sharing among all aboard. Friend-ME is designed for the vibrant, young generation in China, one of most exciting segments in the fastest-growing automobile markets in the world.
I still stem from the era where there was a difference between design and styling, where styling was frowned upon by designers. I also stem from an era where car designs were intended to last a life time, where beauty was the ultimate goal, and from which era we still gawk over, indeed, timeless pieces of automotive sculpture.
These days far more is possible, manufacturing wise, and there is a huge influence of the digital age, the Internet, the fleeting interests of the public, the need to be stimulated by the next hot thing at ever decreasing intervals. The new iPhone is barely introduced or talk is already of the next one.
In contrast, cars’ life cycles have remained rather slow, and definitely not kept up to date with this need for ever reducing model cycle changes, inherently because it is a complex product requiring a vast investment to get into production, and thus a long time to recapture that investment.
The friendly Friend-Me concept shows a good set of interior ideas which, by the time the car would reach production, will probably already be old. That’s the reality of this time and age we live in. The exterior though, shows almost an orgasm of surface treatments that, yes, you can actually all do, and metal and plastics can bend in all these shapes, but should they..? All in one car..? This looks like one of these cars you can see in a cheap computer racing game, one styled to catch the lusting eye of the young teen, trying to prevent them from choosing another, equally vulgarly or worse styled design with spoilers and all that go-faster-crap that seems screwed on there without even a hint of reason.
It’s all good.. Maybe I am getting old, and is this what is our new future. But since cars do take 3 years minimum to develop, and they are not thrown away after 1 or 2 years of usage, but rather stay part of the environment for 10, maybe even 20 years, should we really go this route..? Or maybe we should let cetain companies go this route, and see them crash and burn..?