Nissan’s Teatro for Dayz Concept for ‘Digital Natives’

It’s no secret that Japan’s younger population is falling out of favor with the automobile. The dense urban areas, ample public transport possibilities and sheer cost of keeping a car in the country are reason enough for this trend. And so carmakers need to do whatever it takes to gain the attention of this demographic.

Nissan’s answer is the Teatro for Dayz, a compact urban vehicle with an interior made up of multiple screens designed to cater to what the automaker calls ‘digital natives’ — people who have always had the Internet at their disposal.

The company cites that while Internet penetration in Japan was just 13.4 percent in 1998, the rate had reached 64.3 percent by 2003. The desire to be connected is further represented in global smartphone growth, which expanded from 9.7 percent in 2010 to 62.6 percent in 2013. This young demographic is constantly on their mobile devices, sharing their experiences in real time.

“Designing a car to appeal to the generation we call ‘share natives’ required us to intentionally not use knowledge and tried-and-true approaches we had amassed,” says executive design director Satoshi Tai. “For example, through design we typically try to convey a sense of acceleration, power, or supreme quality. But these values do not resonate with share natives. If anything, such car traits just call to mind old-fashioned technology that bears little relevance to their lives.”

From concept to interior and exterior design, Teatro for Dayz is simple: a clean canvas. When the car is in drive mode, meters, controls and maps appear on a pure white instrument panel. When parked, the concept car transforms into an entirely new device. The entire interior, starting with the instrument panel, becomes a live display for a generation wired for connectivity. Image display technology supports this concept, turning seats, headrests, door trim and the instrument panel into a moving screen.

“The interior can be visually altered according to one’s mood, for playing games and in the blink of an eye,” Tai explains. “What Teatro for Dayz is, how it’s used, and what it could become are all up to the share native’s imagination.”

The digital theme of the interior is carried over onto the concept’s exterior design as well.

“We adopted Nissan’s signature V motion grille and headlamps,” Tai says, “but dropped the usual components that express aggressiveness: speed, size, elegance, and other traits you would expect to see on a car. This car’s identity belongs to the owner, and design assumptions we make just limit their creativity. This could also be seen as an indication of what people will expect of EVs in the future.”

With satin white silver between full gloss white, the vehicle resembles some of the more successfully designed handheld devices while simultaneously providing areas for users to express their creativity. The concept’s simple, compact and square exterior design features LED screens that enable self-expression, with a cleanly rounded roof and bumpers, wheels extended to the outer corners and short front and rear overhangs.

“How will share natives express themselves with this car? Just wait and see. They’ll share their first experiences on social media,” says Tai.

Whether you love it or hate it is down to personal preference. But it’s interesting to see Nissan taking this approach to win back the younger generation, which is a very important demographic in the company’s sustainability. On the other hand it may also win the approval of the older demographic who think it’s cool and trendy — kind of like what happened with the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube.


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