SAN FRANCISCO (June 15, 2004) -- Nissan's latest Concept car, the Qashqai, has won a prestigious award at this year's Sunday Times Motor Show Live at the NEC, Birmingham, Great Britain. It made it to the top of the judges' list in the best Concept/Prototype category of the Institute of Vehicle Engineers (IVehE) Motor Show awards. The Qashqai was first exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year.
A number of expert automotive engineers and designers, all members of the Institute of Vehicle Engineers, were chosen to study and inspect new cars and concept vehicles on display at the British Motor Show. A stringent scoring system was used as the panel of judges worked their way through the different categories.
The leading judge of the Concept Category, Brian Horner, Chief Executive of Visioneering UK Limited, said of the Qashqai, 'The vehicle is beautifully built. It could easily be developed for economic production. This is a truly excellent concept vehicle.'
The designers of the Qashqai were delighted at the news of this award. Makoto Yamane, Studio Chief Designer, said: "Winning this award is a great start to Nissan Design Europe's performance. I feel that the Qashqai project captures the vibrant flavor of our new studio surroundings in London and the international team which worked on the car.'
He continued 'The Qashqai is a unique concept giving dual role in design and execution offering a mix of urban qualities with off-road toughness, a sign that Nissan is exploring new market segments. Everyone at Nissan is extremely proud to receive this award'.
The Qashqai combines coup'like styling with the stance and authority of an off-road vehicle. The concept has four-wheel drive and ground clearance closer to that of a typical off-road vehicle, yet retains the looks, feel and drivability of a sporting hatchback.
Qashqai has a number of special features. The front doors open conventionally but the back doors are rear hinged and there is no central 'B' pillar. As a result, access to and from the passenger compartment is exceptionally easy.
A unique seating arrangement sees all four individual seats attached to a central backbone chassis rail. The seats can be folded upright, flush with the central rail, which leaves enough space for a bicycle to be stored easily inside the cabin without it having to be dismantled first.
A trunk area behind the rear seats houses a safe for valuables and is approached via a split tailgate. Another thoughtful touch makes access to the luggage area from outside as simple as possible: the lower portion of the tailgate slides away underneath the body of the car when opened.
The North American announcement of the award came during the Nissan 360 news media event, a three-week program in San Francisco featuring the automaker's current and future worldwide product and business plans. At the event, close to 500 reporters had the opportunity to drive nearly 70 Nissan and Infiniti vehicles to familiarize themselves with the breadth of Nissan's global product lineup.