Nissan’s latest concept car for the Tokyo Motor Show appears to be a quite nice and rational update of a car they didn’t make, which was then slathered in some of the most potent, weapons-grade marketing horse-, bull-, and batshit we’ve seen in a good while. Seriously, get a vomit bag ready and keep it close.
It’s called the Teatro for Dayz. Yes, with a ‘z.’ ‘Teatro’ comes from the Italian word for theater and the ‘Dayz’ part comes from the part of the brain of some marketing dipshit who’s dad didn’t hug him enough, or something.
Let’s talk about the good parts, first, because once we get into the bullshit, we’re not getting back out. The basic design, I think, is quite good, even if it is remarkably close in style and proportion to a first-gen Scion xB/Toyota bB. I think it feels even closer to that car than Nissan’s own wheeled box, the Cube.
I regard this as a positive, because I really like the original xB, and this car feels like a logical and stylish update to that design. The proportions are essentially the same, but there’s now a large rear suicide door which gives remarkably good access to the interior, I like the broken/half B-pillar, and the clean interior with its wide bench seats I think is a fun and sensible choice for a highly space-efficient city car like this.
It’s electric, which is fine, because since it’s just a concept, none of the tech specs are real, anyway. It’s a design exercise, and looking at just the fundamental automotive bones of it, I think it works pretty well.
Then, we learn the name, and start reading the press release, and everything plummets, on fire, into a massive lake of boiling shit.
What kind of car will it take to excite the digital native generation? And how is Nissan designing such a vehicle today?
Step 1: Toss out preconceived notions regarding vehicles
Step 2: Understand that what moves kids today is not what moved their parents
Step 3: Be open to a new definition of mobility
Teatro for Dayz is a combination of mobile technologies unlike any previously imagined in a car. Combined with Nissan’s EV technology, this car represents a radical new way of thinking about how vehicles can be used.
Call it a vehicle. Call it a hi-tech device. Call it the lifestyle driver of the future.
I suspect the real nausea started to set in right after that painfully tired, clichéd list, and by that last line, with the “Call it the lifestyle driver of the future,” you probably had to eject a little bit of bile. That’s understandable. But hang on — it gets worse.
We know it’s going to be bad because here’s the next subhead:
Driving = Time disconnected from friends
What? That’s insane! Anyone who thinks that way is a loon! You drive to (among other things) get closer to friends. Sometimes you even drive with your friends.. But it gets much worse (emphasis mine, with regret):
According to Nissan’s Product Planning General Manager Hidemi Sasaki, “The generation now getting their first driver’s licenses has always been connected through digital devices, email, social media and so forth. What moves these digital natives is capturing experiences in photos and videos and sharing them. Friends respond with `likes’ and share the experience further. What’s important is not whether something is experienced personally or virtually. What matters is the process of sharing.”
Sasaki calls this generation “share natives.” For share natives, excitement comes not from ownership of material objects, but from using things to connect with friends and share enjoyment.
Oh god. Oh god, it’s bad, really bad. I’m so sorry. I reread that part about “share natives” and just full-on vomited right onto my crotch. Just a spasm in the throat, and next thing I knew my head dropped down, my mouth opened, and a soda-can-girthed column of hot, angry vomit just ejected from my mouth and right into my lap. Jeezis. Hidemi Sasaki probably should be in jail.
It can’t get worse — can it?
It can. It will:
The car for share natives
Through repeated sampling of next-generation customers, Nissan began to form a symbolic picture of share natives.
Friends dressing in costumes and going out together...Taking pictures of the experience and sharing them...Playing games, connected to countless friends in a virtual world no matter where you are...Changing smartphone wallpaper on a whim...Online parties where the faces of social media friends appear.
“Changing smartphone wallpaper on a whim...” What the fuck is the matter with these people? What human being — of any age — is going to define themselves by their willingness to change the JPG they use as the background image of their phone when they feel like it? And does anyone ever change smartphone wallpaper for non-whimisical reasons? Do people my age only change it after months of careful thought and the proper focus-group and computer modeling data?
The reason they’re saying all this bullshit is because they’ve covered every possible surface inside this poor, molested concept car with color LCD screens. The dash is one big one — okay, sure, maybe that’s useful or fun, but the designers went bonkers and put them on the seat backs the door panels, even the seats themselves.
That’s right the part of the seat where your ass contacts the car is a full-color LCD screen, perfect for when you eat some bad clams that cause you to grow an eyeball in your anus.
Share natives could change Teatro for Dayz’s interior design, matching the look to the season, the weather, or simply the vibe of the day. Some might choose to share a dreamy scene with close friends far away. Others might decorate for an online party and share the moment with friends.
Teatro for Dayz’s plain exterior, too, serves as a canvas for ideas. It’s outfitted with LED screens that enable further self-expression. Any experience in or around the car can be shared instantly via an onboard camera. All the while, the EV battery keeps smartphones and other devices juiced up.
Oh god. It’s so bad. Please, everyone, vomit unashamedly and copiously into your bags — your body needs to expunge this crap, somehow.
“Decorate for an online party?” The “vibe of the day?” Stop it. Car-industry marketing people, just stop it, fucking stop it already. Cars are not smartphones. Nobody really wants a car to be a smartphone. Do they?
I mean, every fiber of me says this car-as-smartphone trope doesn’t really “play” with Millenials. It doesn’t play with anybody. People have smartphones. They’ll get more smartphones. They’ll happily interface those smartphones with their cars in a number of ways that make sense and make life easier or slightly more fun or something. But they, and nobody on the planet, wants anything like a giant, expensive smartphone that you drive. So just give it the fuck up, already.
Though, I will admit that maybe there are people out there who do want just that. I suppose it’s possible. That’s terrifying.
Even so, there is no “new definition of mobility.” Mobility means, and will always mean, just the ability to go from one place to another.
Luckily, it’s just a concept, but if there’s anything we can learn from concepts it’s where automakers’ heads are at when it comes to the future. And the future is share natives.
Fucking share natives.
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