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Geneva show: Nissan holds Sway

Eyes have it: Nissan’s Sway concept might be a design study, but you can expect the fresh lines and bold face to appear in a showroom near you at some point.

Just build it, say motor noters after seeing Nissan Sway hatch concept in the flesh

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Nissan logo4 Mar 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

NISSAN has won fulsome praise for its swoopy new small-car concept, the Sway, with many pundits at the Geneva motor show urging the Japanese company to move it into production as a global replacement for the Micra light hatch.

At 4010mm long and 1780mm wide, the edgy five-door hatchback is 230mm longer and 95mm wider than the Micra, which would move it up from the micro car category and into the light-car class alongside cars such as the Mazda2 (4060mm, 1695mm).

Nissan remains tight-lipped on whether the Sway will make it into production, saying “future Nissan models in different market segments in all regions will follow this styling direction”.

Nissan design vice president Shiro Nakamura said the Sway was an experiment to see how Nissan might bring fresh ideas to the compact hatchback segment.

“We believe that the Sway continues our tradition of challenging the status quo in market segments by bringing something fresh, distinctive and striking, much as we did with Qashqai and Juke,” he said.

The Sway represents the first application of Nissan’s latest design language on a small car, using elements from the Nissan Lannia concept shown at last year’s Beijing motor show, the IDx show car at the 2013 Tokyo motor show and Murano concept in the United States last year.

Interestingly, the Sway does not hide its structural elements, instead showing them off like industrial architecture.

Nissan says this signifies simplicity, strength, attention to detail and use of colour and materials associated with premium goods.

At the front, the light clusters represent eyes, with boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights adding a stern countenance – a far cry from the Micra’s plain face.

Apart from showing off the new design, the Sway also challenges conventional car engineering with items such as a “deformed X-structure” bracing the panoramic glass roof.

Such expensive engineering is fanciful in a Micra replacement, but might find traction in a Nissan luxury car at some point.

Rear-hinged ‘suicide doors’ – described by Nissan as complex – are also unlikely to make it into production, nor the B-pillarless open format.

However, the overall shape and details such as the bold V-Motion grille seem a certainty, with Nissan staffers hinting as much.

Said Nissan Europe chairman Paul Willcox: “Nissan is on the move. The brand stands for bold, innovative thinking in the European automotive market – indeed around the globe – and our growth in Europe is led by outstanding new products which are defined by outstanding design.

“The Sway underlines how important design is for Nissan in building our brand and driving our growth.”

No powertrain or potential performance details were given.

Journalists reporting from the Geneva show praised the design, with America’s Car and Driver summing it up as “awesome” and Jalopnik suggesting it is “the funky future of hot hatches”.

Nissan Australia plans to belatedly introduce a facelifted Micra next month, 14 months after the revised model was show at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show.

The current-generation K13 Micra was launched in 2010, and the all-new fifth-generation Micra is due in late 2016.

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