Tokyo Auto ShowNissan Motor Co. Ltd. will unveil the prototype version of its GT-R supercar, due as an ’07 model in the U.S., at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.

“I can report that the development is under way and on target,” says Bruce Campbell, Nissan Design America vice president-design, at a recent event in Farmington Hills, MI.

Nissan introduced the GT-R concept at Tokyo in 2001 and in 2003 showed another concept version of the car.

Campbell says for the first time the GT-R will have a specific body style. “It will be a supercar first of all,” not a sedan turned into a supercar, he says.

Of the concepts Nissan is showing in Tokyo, the most unusual is the Pivo.

Artist rendering of GT-R prototype.

“What we’re trying to do here is highlight the technology of drive-by-wire, brake-by-wire, shift-by-wire,” says Campbell of the car, which has a cabin that rotates 360 degrees on its chassis.

Pivo seats two in addition to the driver and has a variety of advanced telematic, safety and environmental features, such as an all-around-view monitoring system that uses four cameras to provide the driver with traffic information and steering wheel finger controls that respond to body heat via an infrared sensor.

Pivo is powered by a super-thin lithium-ion battery pack built into the floor and has 40-hp-producing compact motors at each of its four wheels.

The vehicle can cover 60-plus miles (97 km) on a single charge and is designed to run at speeds of 50 mph (80 km/h).

Chief designer Masato Inoue, who also designed Nissan’s high-tech Effis, one of the hits at the 2003 Tokyo auto show, believes the Pivo’s revolving cabin is the first of its kind.

And while he admits many of the car’s advanced technologies are still years away from being commercialized, he says the time has come to gauge customer interest and begin long-range product planning.

For another concept, Nissan partners with athletic apparel maker Adidas to create the youth-intentioned Note Inspired by Adidas.

“The association with Adidas is (that) there are cues taken from the fashion world, particularly sportswear,” Campbell says. “And this allows young people to adapt the car to their everyday lives by changing certain parts of the car.”

Campbell says the materials found in the car have a similar feel and texture to outdoor apparel.

Nissan also plans to show the Amenio minivan concept and Foria sports car concept.

The Amenio is “hopefully taking the minivan to the next level,” says Campbell.

– with Roger Schreffler