Nissan is overhauling its design philosophy to attract more female buyers, who, it says, have been largely ignored by the motoring industry.
“Women don’t see vehicles the same as men – they see it as a tool, as a space, spent alone and with others,” a company executive told the Nissan 360 conference in California.
Rachel Nguyen, Nissan’s director of ‘global upstream planning’, said the company was looking at new gender-specific concepts to explore what women expect from their vehicles.
She said that carmakers have for too long presumed women would simply automatically adapt to a vehicle that is really designed and engineered by men for men.
“One of the most significant changing realities is the influence that women have on our product planning, engineering and design,” she said.
“When we study the ideal vehicle partner qualities that women customers want, we hear that they want vehicles with effective technologies, especially intuitive navigation systems.
“They want interiors that are sensibly laid out and that are versatile. They also want a space that they can live in, a holistic environment that is welcoming and personal rather than coldly efficient.”
The carmaker’s product planning chief Francois Bancon said it was well into a three-year study into how women use a car. “The results will be good for men too,” he said.
Bancon said Nissan cars needed a new standard for female buyers. “Our interior still somehow remains a driving machine – complex, difficult to use, too many controls. This is what women reject.”