Nissan has surprised crowds at the Tokyo motor show by revealing two new radical concept cars, based on the same chassis platform, but with significantly different audiences in mind.
The IDx Freeflow and IDx Nismo concepts aren’t designed to preview production models as such, but rather they showcase what Nissan is calling the ‘co-creation’ of new cars.
At a global level, vehicle manufacturers are aware of a declining trend in new car purchases by younger generations.That was one of the factors behind Nissan’s decision to involve ‘digital natives’ - those born after 1990 - in the creation of these cars from scratch, where they had input at all stages from the initial design to the finishing touches.
Nissan says that the two concepts reveal what this younger generation desires from a compact, three-box car design. Initial discussions with the ‘co-creators’ suggested that they wanted a car ‘without legacy influences’, although the IDx pair borrow plenty of styling cues from Nissan’s Skyline model coupes from the early 1970s.
The IDx Freeflow is the more simple, restrained version of the two concepts. Nissan describes it as a ‘back to basics, no-nonsense’ design, with features such as a clean, uncluttered dashboard and an analogue clock.
The IDx Nismo, on the other hand, was developed with input from people who Nissan says grew up playing racing simulation games. The company says that inspiration for the design was drawn from its back catalogue of compact saloon racing cars.
In the weeks running up to the Tokyo motor show, there were rumours that Nissan would unveil a concept that hinted at a rival for the Toyota GT86. While the IDx Nismo fits the mould of a compact, rear-wheel-drive coupe, there’s still no word on whether the company will build such a car, and if it did, whether it would end up looking anything like the IDx.
While none of the current competitors in this segment use retro styling cues, a Nissan source told us that the success of cars like the Fiat 500, new Mini, and VW Beetle prove that there is a clear appetite for vehicles that draw on companies’ previously popular designs.