Does this car strike you as one designed specially for males? That’s what the Nissan Friend-ME concept from Auto Shanghai 2013 is.

Nissan explains that the concept is applicable globally, but the genesis of Friend-ME was Nissan’s research into the aspirations of customers destined to emerge as the world’s largest single market segment: the “Balinghou”, which is how around 240 million Chinese born in the 1980s are known. Specifically, Friend-ME addresses the social dynamics of Chinese men in their mid-20s.

It’s common knowledge that with China’s one-child policy, and the society’s traditional preference for male offspring, a big proportion of the single children are boys. And for a generation that grew up without siblings, leisure time shared with peers is treasured, hence the “Friend-ME” name. Get it? :)


“Balinghou males are a huge cohort in the world’s largest market, and they’re now reaching their prime. Clearly, their tastes will shape automotive trends worldwide for decades to come. So we believe it’s important to listen with respect, and respond by putting dreams within their reach. That’s why Friend-ME is our first proposition in an ongoing dialogue,” said François Bancon, division GM of product strategy and advanced planning at Nissan.

Friend-ME is a collaboration between design teams from Nissan Design China (NDC) – the Beijing studio established in 2011 – and Nissan Global Design Center under the leadership of Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s senior VP and chief creative officer. Studio pics and a video of the Nissan Friend-ME can be found here.