Who says concept vehicles need be sexy, slinky sports cars? We just saw the unveiling of one - the Nissan NV2500 - that's anything but.
Rather than rolling out a high-end sports car that wows crowds but doesn't realistically fit into Nissan's portfolio, the automaker chose instead to show what we're told is "a hint" at Nissan's forthcoming commercial vehicle (CV) range. Though Nissan is a strong player in the CV market globally, it isn't within North America. Certainly, the full-size Titan pickup may be used in business applications, but on the whole, it's marketed primarily to consumers - not companies. A new range of vehicles, which we're told will primarily consist of vans and trucks, will change that fact. From a quick glance, the NV2500 looks all business. The chiseled front fenders and corporate grille may ape those on the Titan, but the rest of the vehicle is all-new. Lest you think this is merely a panel wagon version of the Armada SUV, the NV2500 towers over the consumer vehicle - it's taller than a Ford E-series, yet measures just below a Dodge Sprinter. That tall roof allows for a large cargo space, which incorporates a number of interesting spacial concepts. Nissan Design vice-president Bruce Campbell claims the interior is divided into three zones - both the load and cockpit spaces, and by sliding the passenger seat into the middle of the van (just beneath a large skylight), creating a small office of sorts. Contractors will love other details found on the NV2500 - for starters, there's a flip-up rear quarter panel on the passenger side (not unlike the Chevrolet Express Access), but also a flip-over table, allowing customers to inspect paperwork without climbing inside. Open up those 60/40 split barn doors, and you'll find a number of power outlets and two valves for an on-board air compressor. Though the Nissan staff love to talk about the creativity of the NV2500, they weren't too specific of what we'll see in the future. They did mention that the concept is built off the Titan's F-Alpha platform, but wouldn't comment on if the F-Alpha platform will live on after the Titan becomes a badge-engineered Dodge Ram. Joe Castelli, vice-president of Nissan's light commercial and fleet operations, did mention that the Nissan plant in Canton, Missouri, would be cleared of all Armada and QX56 production by 2010 in order to build commercial vehicles only. Expect to see the first Nissan commercial vehicle - which we're betting echoes this concept fairly closely - in 2010, with two additional launches coming following year.