It's hard to keep a vehicle under wraps.
We generally see spy shots of a new vehicle far before the model actually debuts, and the challenge with these concealed cars is looking past the camouflage to figure out how the design actually looks. Now, Nissan's team handling this important job offers some insider info about what it takes to hide models that are still under development.
The work of concealing a model before the official unveiling is serious work because spy photographers are so desperate to take a picture of them. Not only is the camouflage necessary, but Nissan keeps them in locked garages and transports the vehicles in enclosed trailers. During transport at research and development centers, there are special car covers over the body that keep the automobile drivable.
Gallery: Nissan Demonstrates Camouflage
"When we reveal a vehicle, it should be a very momentous occasion," Mike Rosinski, a vehicle development manager at Nissan North America, said about the work. "In order to not take away from the excitement of the reveal, we have to keep the cars always in disguise and under wraps."
Nissan says that the eye-catching camouflage patterns that it uses serve multiple purposes. The complicated design makes getting a photo in focus a bigger challenge for photographers. The shapes also hide a vehicle's sculpting and angles, so that viewers can really only discern the general styling cues.
With so many vehicles under development, Nissan is going through lots of its camouflage wrap. According to the company, it has used up around two miles of this material in less than a year.
Beyond just camouflage, Nissan does things like add tape around the headlights to hide their shape and put extra padding underneath the wrap to distort the vehicle's shape – like on the grille of the Pathfinder above. Removing all the badges, including from the wheels is part of the concealment process. On the inside, draping fabric over the dashboard is a method of covering up the interior.