Nissan Forum Concept

The Nissan FORUM, an exploratory design concept developed by Nissan Design America, Inc. (NDA), represents the next revolution in family transportation. Answering the challenge of making family passenger vehicles more appealing to both drivers and passengers, FORUM offers a wide array of innovative ideas – from its trackless sliding side doors and elimination of traditional B-pillars, to an interior featuring a multi-position swiveling 2nd row seat and next-generation entertainment and family communications technology. FORUM made its world auto show debut at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

As its name suggests, FORUM is conceived as a "gathering place," bringing adults and children together in two independent but linked "zones." Targeting families with older children who not only can entertain themselves but also demand to, FORUM respects the needs and desires of both grownups and kids.

In front is the parents' zone, with advanced information technology controls and seats designed to enhance driving pleasure. The rear zone is the dedicated kids' space, where they can feel comfortable and entertained. FORUM's advanced technology bridges the two zones, as desired, into one unique family "togetherness" space.

"From a conceptual standpoint, FORUM is closer to a family limousine than the minivans Gen Xers have grown up with. But unlike a real limo – or sometimes traditional minivans – the FORUM driver is just as important as the passengers," said Rachel Nguyen, director, Advanced Planning and Strategy, Nissan North America, Inc. "It offers a sophisticated space for adults and an engaging space for children – allowing both groups to enjoy themselves in their own individualistic ways while being connected in one vehicle. Like every Nissan, this dramatic FORUM Concept combines passionate driving, emotive design and an abundance of advanced, user-friendly technology."

The FORUM conceptual and design teams took care to consider the needs of both male and female drivers. "Traditional minivans are often perceived as the 'Mom's car' – but FORUM is designed to be gender neutral. The reality is that both Moms and Dads want style, performance and driving pleasure in their vehicles, whether transporting kids or not."

Research shows that the primary driver of family vehicles often changes depending on the day of the week and family schedules. During the week, FORUM's primary driver might be a mom, picking up the kids at school, dropping them off at practices or lessons – so we've incorporated advanced communications systems such as rear seat camera monitoring cameras and audio controls. "Sometimes being a mom is just about managing the chaos, but moms also deserve some personal space of their own. FORUM is designed to give moms a balance between needs and the kids'," said Nguyen.

On the weekends, a dad might become the primary driver, taking over FORUM for errands, longer trips or recreational drives – so FORUM is designed with responsive power and handling, and more aggressive, performance-car styling than traditional family vehicles. FORUM also offers the exceptional flexibility required to haul large objects and other "weekend gear."

"We also know that with traditional minivans, both moms and dads sometimes feel like they are sitting in a kids' playroom – losing their identities in the vehicle," continued Nguyen. "FORUM lets kids be kids and grown-ups be grown-ups, with the adults firmly in charge."

Ultimately, FORUM is conceived as a place to share – a destination in itself, as well as enjoyable transportation to other venues.

"There are many occasions during a week when, with a family's busy schedule, the vehicle is the only place where everyone is together – so we've incorporated features and technology to enhance this precious 'quality time,'" said Nguyen.

FORUM's design innovations include wide-opening front doors and no B-pillars – creating exceptional access to the 2nd and 3rd row seats. FORUM's front doors open 90 degrees, which combined with the long sliding side doors, create wide openings for easy entry and exit of all three rows. "We were able to engineer the lack of B-pillars through use of extra thick reinforced roof and door frames – putting the material where it needs to go to help maintain structural integrity for this concept," said Bruce Campbell, vice president, Design, NDA. "Not only does this greatly enhance the ease of getting in and out of the rear seats, it allows us to utilize the 2nd row seat as a sort of 'bleacher' – adding a new dimension to watching sports, picnicking or other outdoor family activities."

FORUM's dramatic "floating" instrument panel design blends next-generation communications technology with simple, intuitive controls. The instrument panel includes dual climate controls, Bluetooth® wireless technology and mood lighting under the upper and lower console areas. A built-in console-mounted microwave, sized to fit a standard bag of microwave popcorn, is accessible from the front and center seats.

FORUM's efficient, intelligent design features also extend to the powertrain. Though as a design exploration, FORUM's emphasis is limited to form and functionality, conceptually a modern, next-generation family passenger vehicle would include a clean diesel or other environmentally sensitive powerplant.

Source: Nissan press

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