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Nissan's selfie-friendly car sends knobs, buttons out the window

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Nissan Motor Co designers tossed knobs and buttons out the window for their latest car aimed at a generation apathetic about autos, leaving behind a clear-white surface for displaying photos, showing movies and playing games.

[TOKYO] Nissan Motor Co designers tossed knobs and buttons out the window for their latest car aimed at a generation apathetic about autos, leaving behind a clear-white surface for displaying photos, showing movies and playing games.

The Teatro for Dayz concept debuting at this month's Tokyo Motor Show was designed to appeal to the driving disinclined, Tatsuya Shiosaki, a Nissan advanced product planning manager, told reporters in a briefing last month. The instrument panel, seats and door trim can function as displays along with LED screens on the car's exterior. An on-board camera allows for taking and sharing selfies.

"We took very specific approaches in the planning of this car, focusing on the types of people who would never show any interest in cars no matter what we do," Shiosaki said.

While Teatro for Dayz is only a concept and not for sale, its development signals how Nissan plans to build momentum in appealing to younger consumers with cars that are due to reach showrooms.

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In China, the automaker is introducing the new Lannia sedan, featuring an audio system with smartphone connectivity and a 7-inch multimedia display screen.

For Japanese carmakers, reaching younger buyers at home has become a vexing issue. Japanese in their 20s accounted for only about 13 per cent of all driver's license holders last year, compared with 26 per cent three decades earlier, police data show.

The Teatro for Dayz concept, named using the Italian word for "theatre" and based on the exterior of the Dayz minicar sold in Japan, is powered by a battery, Nissan said. The car features voice controls and motion sensors for operating the air conditioning and audio system.

Nissan will also show its Gripz hybrid crossover concept and an upgraded Leaf electric car with longer driving range at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens to the public on Oct 30.

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