Japanese automaker Nissan is looking to the giant robots of the 'Gundam' anime series for its new car designs. Ryan Brooks reports on how this might set them apart from a market filled with look-alike designs.
Japan's car makers taking inspiration from anime for their latest models... They call it the "J-factor," and Nissan designers say it could help them shake off Japan's reputation for pumping out vehicles... that largely look the same. Take their new GT-R supercar... it might look familiar if you've ever seen the sci-fi series "Gundam..." Squint a little, and it looks like one of the show's trademark giant robots. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) NISSAN'S GLOBAL DESIGN CHIEF, SHIRO NAKAMURA, SAYING: "Take a look at these lines. They're bent, unlike other cars with lines that flow smoothly, in order to make the car look powerful and energetic - the very charm of Japanese anime robot." Reuters' Norihiko Shirouzu explains why Nissan's taking design cues from cartoons. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) NORIHIKO SHIROUZU, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "One word, it's globalization. Because the people buy from, companies buy from same suppliers, they have the same sort of equipment, manufacturing process. In order to stand out, you have to look different." Nissan's not only looking at giant robots. People tell the company's design chief the Juke SUV looks like the main character of "One Piece," another anime series. He says no resemblance intended- he just wanted to channel Japan's culture of cute. That's playing out with other car makers trying to capture the J-factor, too. Over at Toyota, the latest Prius model look a bit like Pokemon's little yellow hero, Pikachu.