Monday, October 29, 2007

Cute Big 3

Cute, communicative and cubic seem to be the fashion statement as far as offerings from Japan's "Big Three'' automakers Toyota, Honda and Nissan, debuting at the Tokyo auto show later this month.

Sporting whimsical names - Rin, Puyo and Pivo 2 - the toylike "concept," or show, cars appear to be inspired more by the iPod, futuristic space capsules and Japanese manga animation than what we are used to associating with vehicles.

This is Honda's Puyo concept. - AP Photo.Indeed, they're all being billed as therapeutic.
And none of them are promised for sale to the public anytime soon.
Behind the offerings is the growing view among Japanese automakers that more must be done to fight the image of cars as culprits of pollution, global warming and traffic accidents.

And it's got scissor-doors! Unbelievably large ones at that. - AP Photo.Their answer: Transform the car into a friendly companion - not just a machine for getting around.
Honda Motor Co even says its white bubble-shaped rubbery-surfaced Puyo, equipped with a panoramic window, is supposed to be a pet.
The cabin part of Puyo, a fuel-cell vehicle, rotates so it never has to go into reverse.

Is this where everyone goes Puyo? - AP Photo.The body glows in various colors of lighting to communicate with people, such as turning green when it's happy about its condition, according to Honda.

The speedometer glows in a subdued blue tone from its dashboard that resembles gray cloth so the interior feels more like a room.
In a preview presentation to reporters, Honda compared the aesthetics of Puyo, whose name is based on the Japanese word that describes floating or soft objects, to cute things like a bunny and balloon.

And this is Toyota's Rin concept.Toyota Motor Corp's Rin looks similar to Puyo, but it has some dashes of green on white to highlight what the automaker says is its serenity so the driver feels at one with nature.
Rin, which means "upright'' and "graceful," has a transparent floor and big windows.
Its beige seating enhances passengers' skin tones, and the seats are designed to improve posture, according to Toyota.

Nissan will be showing its Pivo 2 concept at the show. - AP Photo."This car is about a beautiful and healthy mind," says Satoru Taniguchi, who oversees Rin, a plug-in gas-electric hybrid.
Plug-ins run longer on electricity than a regular hybrid because it recharges in a household socket.

The cabin of Nissan Motor Co's Pivo 2, an electric vehicle, can rotate on its wheel base so that it can face the opposite direction.

The vehicle's tires can also turn 90 degrees, allowing it move sideways into tight spaces.
To make sure its message of cuteness isn't lost on visitors at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public on Oct 27, Pivo, derived from "pivot,'' has a bobbing robotic head near the steering wheel that talks in a high-pitched voice. - AP

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