This week in Jalopnik: As Tokyo readies itself for the city s upcoming motor show—one of the industry s majors—later this month, automakers are in high-tease mode. As custom dictates, they ve spent the past few weeks issuing advance images of the concept vehicles they hope will attract both crowds and column inches (in pubs like this, no doubt). Nissan s Pivo, Suzuki s P.X. and Ionis, Chrysler s Akino, Subaru s B5-TPH and Nissan s GT-R PROTO are but a Whitman Sampler's worth (minus the coconut) of those that will be on display.
With a bulbous body that rotates 360 degrees atop a simple chassis, the Nissan Pivo looks like a toddler s vision of the perfect Fisher Price car—no sharp corners and easy to fill up with stuff like Cheerios and dad s best cologne. In reality, the Pivo is a showcase of Nissan s most far-out human-car interface technologies. For example, a driver can manipulate many interior controls using hand signals, and a wrap-around video monitor retires the rear-view mirror.
Among Suzuki s two minivan concepts headed to Tokyo is the military-chic P.X., touted by the company as a kind of mobile fort for middle-aged men. Suzuki calls the sleek, stainless-steel P.X. a home base for men, in which they can get on with all the fun stuff middle-aged men in decked-out vans do. (Why, practice their golf swing, of course. What were you thinking?)
The Chrysler Akino comes equipped with enough grandiloquently composed backstory to shame a Celestial Seasonings teabag. The one-box, compact concept, envisioned to be an oasis on wheels, was conceptualized by Akino Tsuchiya, a designer at the Chrysler Group's Pacifica Design Studios in California. It s got an interior that incorporates bamboo flooring, a throw rug, lighting sconce, mood lighting and even throw pillows. Akino means autumn field. Nuff said.
Along with the most hyperbolic concepts, some trend more closely toward cars we ll likely see someday in traffic or double-parked in front of a nail salon, as the case may be. For one, as rumors have it, Subaru s B5-TPH hatchback concept is the bellwether of a new design direction that will inform the next-generation Subaru Impreza—for which a radical redesign is expected by 2007.
The concept that s closest to a true production model is Nissan s GT-R PROTO, which will become the next-generation GT-R—a sports car almost as beloved in the world s automotive circles as the four-wheel drift on dry pavement. The PROTO also signals good news for Americans who d been traditionally left out of the GT-R fest; the next-generation GT-R, coming in 2007, is a global sports car that ll be sold in the US, alongside Pathfinders and Sentras at the local Nissan mart. Watch for it.
Jalopnik s The Week in Cars appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo