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 Nissan: Fusion Concept

The Paris Auto Show

The Nissan Fusion at the Paris Motors Show

Photo: Automotive Intelligence

Nissan today presents its first all-new design concept this century and the first glimpse into the exciting future of Nissan styling.

The Nissan Fusion concept car will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show. It is a 4-door mid-size saloon that indicates a new approach in Nissan’s design.

The Fusion concept is based on an ambitious philosophy. The brief to the Nissan designers was to develop an innovative style which adds strong emotional involvement to the traditional technical excellence of Nissan’s products; and to integrate western taste and Japanese roots, interpreted in a modern and even futuristic way.


Nissan Fusion Concept
2000 Nissan Fusion Concept
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The name Fusion was carefully chosen to underline the mix of different elements in this project: hard and soft, cold and warm, technology and "human touch", futurism and reminiscence are all typifying Nissan’s Fusion concept car.

Exterior Design

Nissan Fusion Concept
2000 Nissan Fusion Concept
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The brief for the Nissan Design team gave them the opportunity to explore new avenues of design in terms of packaging, form, surface treatments and details.

Their answer is a monosilhouette shape that smoothly encompasses bonnet, cabin and boot. The traditional emphasis of saloon car design has been almost entirely left behind and is replaced with a fluid and aerodynamic new profile dominated by the cabin.

Little interrupts the profile of the Fusion. A sense of tension is achieved along the length of the bodyside through subtle sculpturing of all the main panels and through a stretching of the bonnet and boot best seen in plan view. In marked contrast to the soft bumper sections, other applied elements - wheel arches, door openings, the rocker panel - all appear to have been integrated into the smooth central mass. This technique, known to architects, furniture and product designers as ‘constructivism’ is one of the key themes of the Fusion. The side panels’ design is very smooth and at the same time delivers a sense of power. The design of the 18" wheels aims at reinforcing that feeling.

Viewed from the front, the Fusion looks aggressive and still delivers a sense of simplicity. The air intake - an interpretation of the classic Nissan front grille identity - the bonnet and the windscreen appear almost as one. The sense of a car created from a single solid mass is further enforced by the exceptionally smooth bumper sections which join with the fenders across a short cut line. A large sized badge shows Nissan’s pride in presenting this concept car to the world.

"Imagine a car," explains Stéphane Schwarz, studio chief designer at Nissan Design Europe, where the Fusion was styled, "a familiar, practical car, but imagine it covered in snow. Think about how the snow softens the lines of the car and distorts its shape, no matter how familiar that shape might be. That is what we are trying to achieve with Fusion. A four-door saloon car is probably the most familiar shape of all. Fusion is Nissan’s challenge to that orthodoxy. It says we have the confidence to reformulate even the most established of forms".

Underlining the ‘high-tech’ attitude of the Fusion there are tiny TV cameras fitted to the base of the A-pillar instead of more traditional door mirrors. These relay real-time pictures to two screens at either end of the instrument binnacle. There are no visible door handles even. Instead, touch-sensitive handles pop-out from the doors with the same smooth operation of a high quality CD player.

Electronics experts of Philips supplied the fibre optic technology that enables the Fusion’s advanced array of lamps. High power Xenon generators beam light through a loom of optic fibres into a bank of 12 visible quartz rods which direct the fibre ends onto precision lenses. Each lens is inclined at a different angle to merge into one light beam. At the rear, one advanced lamp serves as both the tail and stop lights. Supplied by a two-step halogen generator, 140 fibre optics feed into the lamps on each side. These fibres are dual functional and, according to the driving situation, provide two levels of light intensity for either normal tail illumination or brake warning. The integrated indicator unit is neon in both the nose and tail of the Fusion. The plate is illuminated by a line of tiny spotlights which also receive energy from optical fibre cables.

Interior Design

The interior of the Fusion combines more evidently the two separate themes of warmth and cold.

Nissan Fusion Concept
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  Nissan Fusion Concept
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"We wanted the car to be at once technological and human," says Shiro Nakamura, Vice President Design Division at Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. "It also shows two sides of Japanese culture, our roots: the energy and innovation of ’high-tech Japan’, and the almost unreal serenity and geometrical purity of its traditional architecture."

The technological areas, those associated with control and interaction, are defined by cooler, harder materials like aluminium and Plexiglass. But where the function is providing physical or visual comfort a combination of a very soft, very natural leather and two new materials developed with suppliers has been used, which reflect the complex character of the vehicle.

The wide open spaces created by the external architecture of the car are internally exploited in the 2x2 layout of the seating with the driver and three passengers each accommodated in their own controlled first-class environment. State of the art facilities -including DVD entertainment - are within easy reach in a central console that runs from the front of the cabin between the seats into the rear.

The instrument panel and facia provide another insight into Fusion’s elegant blend of classical and forward-looking thinking. Reflecting Nissan’s long-standing sporting heritage, all the dials in the softly-illuminated ‘floating’ instrument binnacle are analogue VDO units. In the centre a TFT screen shows vehicle status, entertainment and a navigation system. It is controlled via user-friendly PC protocols, scrolling menus and a console-mounted "mouse".

The seats and upper areas of the doors are all upholstered in fine grade Connolly leather. Its light leather tone was selected for its natural feel and to contrast with the precision-manufactured look of the switches and centre console area. A new material - this time a synthetic - was selected for the lower parts of the seats and the harder-working parts of the doors. Slightly reflective, this pearly ‘moonstone’ material makes an ideal transition between the aluminium and leather surfaces.

On the floor of the Fusion is another new material its manufacturers call ‘Techno-Tatami’ after the woven floor covering so typical of traditional and modern Japanese homes. The weft of this hard-wearing fabric is a gently iridescent synthetic which catches the light appealingly in the softly contoured foot-wells of the Fusion.

Fibre optic technology also contributes to the interior of the Fusion. A central longitudinal panel runs the length of the roof between two glass panels that bring light into the car during the day. After dark, the mood inside the car can be altered using a coloured fibre optic system also developed by Philips and fitted to the underside of the central roof panel. The system creates a wide range of colours allowing occupants to match their environment with their mood. They can therefore design their own atmosphere for their own desired ambience.

Photos: Nissan

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