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Women “largely ignored by the auto industry”: Nissan
Nissan’s bid to close the gender divide in automotive design and engineering
20 Sep 2013
By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in CALIFORNIA
NISSAN isn’t just targeting younger buyers: it says it’s embracing gender equality in product, engineering and design like never before as well.
Stating that women’s needs have been ignored for too long, the Japanese company hopes it might help reignite society’s diminished love affair with the modern car.
“One of the most significant changing realities is the influence that women have on our product planning, engineering and design,” revealed Nissan’s ‘upstream product planner’ Rachel Nguyen.
“Women have been largely ignored by the auto industry and our own research shows they are generally dissatisfied.”
Nissan’s boss of product planning, Francois Bancon, added that the brand is already in a three-year deep-dive study in how women use a car – not just for driving, but as an environment to work and live within.
“The results will be good for men too,” he said.
Ms Nguyen believes that car-makers have for too long presumed women would simply automatically adapt to – and even grow to love – a vehicle that is really designed and engineered by men for men.
Left: Nissan’s ‘upstream product planner’ Rachel Nguyen.
“Women don’t see vehicles the same as men – they see it as a tool, as a space, spent alone and with others,” she said.
“So Nissan has learnt that women want more effective technology that allows for multi-tasking a more welcoming and holistic interior that gives a sense of togetherness… where they want to be able to take care of guests and family in a place where it’s easy to engage in conversations and build a sense of togetherness.”
Requisite changes include improvements in reliability, ergonomics, practicality, versatility and the human/machine interface. One example is the abolition of overly complicated sat-nav systems – because they can waste precious time.
The process, Ms Nguyen revealed, is already well under way at Nissan.
“Nissan is already changing its approach to the design of future vehicles,” she said.
“These insights are already impacting our approach to vehicle design, driving us to look at ways to add a greater sense of personalisation for all car owners – male and female.
“And more radical forms of personalisation may ultimately be critical to maintaining consumer interest in automobiles.”
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