Monday, October 22, 2012
Nissan showing Extrem new crossover in São Paulo
Less than a week ago, Nissan teased us with what it called a "high character" concept to be unveiled in São Paulo, Brazil this weekend. We were skeptical, suggesting the concept might be less than sporty considering the show's traditional emphasis on inexpensive workaday iron.
Well, look who's surprised! The Nissan Extrem concept is indeed a "high character" concept and, as the Japanese automaker says, "a radical concept car aimed squarely at young (and young-at-heart) car enthusiasts keen to make a statement."
"We call it Baby Beast," says Robert Bauer, senior design manager for the project at Nissan Design America. We see it as an urban rally car, a tough little street fighter that can handle the urban jungle with agility and confidence."
Wraparound glass and a "see-through" A-pillar reminiscent of Volvo's Safety Car Concept (circa 2001) are interesting features that could enhance safety, while overlapping body panels "create a feeling of layered armored toughness."
Such a vehicle could definitely compete with the similarly styled Veloster from Hyundai. But with its higher ground clearance and possible all-wheel-drive, the Extreme could offer a light-use off-road alternative. If anything, the Extrem is arguably most similar to Nissan's own Juke, albeit with fewer doors.
The Extrem concept is built on Nissan's V-platform, which is also used on its March supermini, albeit with larger dimensions. The Extrem is larger in every exterior dimension except wheelbase, as it retains the March's 96.4-inch track.
According to Nissan, power "would come" from the company's 1.6-liter, direct injection, turbocharged engine – an engine also seen in the Juke.
The company's press release (available below) cautions us not to expect the Extrem to make it into production any time soon, though.
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SÃO PAULO, Brazil – The vibrancy, color and excitement of Brazil has been captured in Nissan EXTREM, a radical concept car aimed squarely at young (and young-at-heart) car enthusiasts keen to make a statement on the roads.
EXTREM has been created especially for Brazil. It has been designed for and built in the country and has its world debut at the 27th São Paulo International Motor Show (October 24 – November 4).
"Brazil is a country of great natural beauty and it has a passionate, rich culture. But this is not always reflected in the cars on its streets, especially the more affordable locally produced vehicles which tend to be conservative in design, color and specification," said Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer.
"EXTREM, with a dynamic, high-character design, is far from conservative. It was created to appeal to the country's growing band of city-based young professionals who are passionate about design and want to make a personal statement. The lightweight two-door 2+2, has a dynamic stance, fresh surfacing, and a clear rugged ability to tackle the urban jungle everyday," he added.
Designed by Nissan Design America (NDA) in San Diego, California, in collaboration with Brazilian designers and produced in Brazil, the concept previews a new breed of car. By blending versatility and toughness with the agility of a compact 2+2, EXTREM is a new genre of urban compact sports car.
Its unveiling at the São Paulo Motor Show underscores Nissan's commitment to Brazil. The country is one of the largest new car markets in the world and one in which Nissan enjoys significant sales growth. The company claimed almost two per cent of the 2011 market, doubling its 2010 sales, and aims to account for five per cent of new car sales in Brazil by 2016.
Nissan's investment in Brazil includes an all-new manufacturing facility in Resende in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which is scheduled to start production in the first half of 2014. When operating at its full potential, the plant will produce 200,000 units annually.
Although strictly a concept car with no immediate plans for production, elements of EXTREM's styling offers a glimpse into future Nissan products, for Brazil and beyond.
"We have created EXTREM to show how serious we are about Brazil. EXTREM is provocative, energetic and engaging and it reflects the passion, innovation and excitement we put into all our cars," said Christian Meunier, President of Nissan Brazil.
Nissan EXTREM in detail Right from the early stages of its development, the design team behind EXTREM was clear about the direction the concept should take. "We call it Baby Beast," said Robert Bauer, Senior Design Manager for the project at NDA. "We see it as an urban rally car, a tough little street fighter that can handle the urban jungle with agility and confidence."
From the outset it was considered vitally important that design inspiration should come from Brazil itself. Although the NDA design team is based in San Diego, creative time on the project was spent mostly in São Paulo. The NDA designers managed the project remotely from San Diego and developed clay and digital models using local resources in São Paolo.
The result is an exotic and distinctive concept for a new genre of compact sport vehicle with a unique silhouette. The lower half of the body and raised ground clearance expresses its strength, while the sharply sloping roof line suggests its sporting intention. The combination of innovative elements such as the wraparound glass, floating roof rails and detached C pillars enhance the feeling of an open, airy cabin.
The body's shape and surfaces exude a feeling of strength and agility with muscular fender volume defined by sharp creases. Overlapping panels and unique surface interplays create a feeling of layered armored toughness.
Showing EXTREM also has a practical side to its nature, the roof rails incorporate cleats for load carrying, while the unique see-through A-pillar structure provides enhanced outward visibility.
Both the headlamps and tail lamps feature Nissan's signature graphics and advanced LED technology. Bracketing the glass hatch, the rear lights have high-tech layered fins, showcasing an airy, lightweight structure. A prominent aluminum skid plate, embossed to add strength, houses the centrally mounted exhaust.
Although clearly a tough little street fighter, quality craftsmanship and attention to detail can be found throughout the car. Examples include flush mounted door handles, integrated side marker lamps, lightweight fender-mounted mirrors and the flush A- and B-pillars which create a seamless canopy.
A compact 2+2, EXTREM has a dedicated luggage space in the rear. A clever two-tier system provides secure storage, where items can be hidden from prying eyes beneath an exposed and removable cargo bin which is accessed via the rear hatch. The bin is designed for day-to-day items and fits neatly underneath a structural cross brace that adds extra stiffness to the shell and accentuates the sporting nature of the car.
The exclusive Solar Cortex body color, a deep metallic orange with radiant highlights, pays homage to Brazilian nature. Brightly colored accents provide 'pops' of energy and can also be found on the gas cap, tow hook and the wheels, adding to the urban rally car theme.
The roof pattern, a mix of gloss and matte textures, is inspired by iconic Brazilian graphics.
Six-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels are double layered with a dark inner and brushed metal outer and provide enhanced cooling to the brakes.
Showcasing the versatility of Nissan's acclaimed V-platform – used by the Nissan March – dimensionally EXTREM is taller, wider and longer than the global city car.
EXTREM's dimensions are:
EXTREM's power would be provided by Nissan's advanced direct injection and turbocharged (DIG-T) 1.6-liter gasoline engine which shares its technology concept with the powertrain in the innovative Nissan DeltaWing Le Mans race car. EXTREM could also be offered with a choice of front or four-wheel drive with Torque Vectoring for enhanced handling capabilities.
"EXTREM suggests that exotic and exciting design need not just be reserved for expensive cars. It shows that innovative, sophisticated design can be made in a clever, attainable way. EXTREM is one of our answers to this possibility and it opens an exciting new chapter in our design relationship with Brazil," said Nakamura.
About Nissan do Brasil
Growing significantly in recent years, Nissan aims to reach 5% of market share by 2014. To achieve this goal, the company will introduce 8 new models in Brazil until 2016. Launched in 2011, Nissan Versa and Nissan March marked the company's entry in the two highest volume segments of the Brazilian market – compact hatches and compact sedans. Today Nissan do Brasil operates 153 stores across the country and has plans to increase this number to 239 by 2016. Producing in São José dos Pinhais, Parana, since 2002, Nissan announced in 2011 an investment of $ 2.6 billion to build a new factory in the country, in Resende, state of Rio de Janeiro, scheduled to begin operation in 2014 and capable of producing 200,000 cars a year.
Reinforcing its commitment to the country, Nissan will be the official sponsor of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games™, and the Brazilian Olympic Committee in the category "Cars". This partnership includes the delivery of 4,500 vehicles of various types that will meet the needs of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ™ and Team Brazil. This fleet will prioritize clean energy (ethanol or electricity), supporting the efforts of the Rio 2016™ to achieve the sustainability goals of the Games.