DETROIT – Nissan North America Inc. is turning its attention to the young, newly married male buyer with the unveiling of its small cross/utilty concept vehicle, the Actic, at the North American International Auto Show.

“It’s for the young father in transition,” Tom Semple, president, Nissan Design America tells Ward's.

“What that means is he’s transitioning from one lifestyle into another. It’s the guy who doesn’t want to give up his youth, but he still wants to be able to have a family.”

Although the Actic is not a true entry-level vehicle, it could be someone’s first purchase of a new vehicle and is Nissan’s attempt to pull in some of that younger market, a segment that is “the most elusive,” Semple admits.

Actic for ’07 designed for young married males.

Actic’s name is a combination of the words “active” and “quick.” The vehicle is sporty with big wheels, something young males should fine attractive.

But it’s also a 6-passenger vehicle with enough room to fit three passengers in the front seat and three in the back There’s ample space for car seats and storage room for items such as baby strollers, making the Actic functional as well as fun for the young married couple.

The seats are modified bench seats, allowing each passenger to separately configure their own seating position.

Slightly resembling the Nissan Murano and the Infiniti FX35 and FX45 CUVs, the Actic’s hood is bullet-shaped. The vehicle has sliding front and rear doors with no B-pillar. A protective piece for the underbody runs along side the vehicle under the doors.

The tires are specially designed by Michelin SA (patent pending), with tread that resembles cross trainer running shoes. The tread on the concept is uniquely folded over the rims of the 20-in. aluminum-alloy wheels with the use of a special laminate.

The headlights incorporate new technology that will soon find its way into future Nissan design. The goal was to create a lighting surface that lies in a more sympathetic relationship with the design, says Jim McJunkin, manager-Exterior Design for Nissan.

Nissan created wafers of material that are illuminated by several rows of light emitting diodes. A mirror that is customized to the geometry of the vehicle focuses the light forward. “We think it enhances the look of the vehicle because it allows the headlights to be more specific to the vehicle’s overall design,” McJunkin says.

The vehicle also comes with a matching trailer that expands upward and has enough room to sleep three people.

Although the vehicle looks like a CUV, Nissan says the Actic defies categorization. The Actic was designed to adopt the personality of its owner. In the ceiling, six overhead instrument panels can run whatever images the driver chooses, similar to a screensaver or wallpaper options on a computer.

The handheld key fob acts as an information technology system that can store all sorts of data regarding the driver’s lifestyle, updating the vehicle with that information.

While the Actic will not see production, Nissan says some version of it likely will become a production model in the near future for both Nissan and Infiniti brands.

cbanks@primediabusiness.com