TOKYO - Japanese car buyers love gadgets.
Now Nissan Motor Co. has a line of gadgets that should appeal to health-conscious consumers.
Nissan's new 'Inner Green' advertising campaign promotes three 'healthy' features. They are anti-bacterial steering wheels and gear lever knobs; windows that screen out ultraviolet rays; and air filters that protect passengers from pollen and other allergens.
All three options will be available on Nissan cars by the end of the year.
Other manufacturers also offer unusual features:
The Subaru Legacy Grand Wagon has exhaust ventilation fans on both sides of the luggage space. When operated these get rid of the smell of, for instance, the family dog or freshly caught fish.
The large Nissan Elgrand van offers two optional TV monitors. One pops up from the instrument panel to serve as the navigation-system screen when driving - or as a TV when the van's transmission is engaged in park. The driver cannot watch TV while driving. The second monitor flips down from the ceiling so passengers in the rear seats can independently choose to watch the TV or the navigation maps.
Honda's S-MX, the minivan aimed at couples without children, offers seats that fold completely flat like a bed. It also has dark-tinted windows and a special pocket for a box of tissues.
In the full-sized Nissan Stagea station wagon, the passenger seats can fold flat to lengthen storage space. A heavy, dark plastic cover can be pulled out of the spare-tire compartment to either cover the bumper to prevent scratches, or to cover the floor to keep the carpet dry.
Toyota is working to upgrade in-vehicle navigation guides that use the Global Positioning System. One feature would do more than locate the vehicle, it would relate its location to the system's terrain map. It could, for instance, automatically adjust the transmission to take account of hills. The system is not yet available.