Nissan will build a production version of the Chappo concept seen at Geneva - but it will only be sold in Japan.
According to Nissan Design Director Shiro Nakamura, the Chappo's styling has already been approved and the car will go on sale in Japan in late 2002.
The Chappo is the first Nissan to be based on the new small-car platform developed with Renault. That platform will also be used for the next Nissan Micra, and the Renault Clio and Twingo replacements.
The Chappo will succeed the Cube, another Japan-only model. Nakamura said the production version of the Chappo won't be quite as radical as the concept, but its architecture will be the same.
The Chappo's design is typically Japanese, featuring what Nakamura calls 'temple windows.'
'It is a living room on wheels, to make your stay in busy traffic more comfortable,' he said.
The Chappo's flexible interior 'is a reflection of Japanese society, which is always trying to make the best out of limited living space,' he added.
The next Micra, due on sale in early 2003, will be the first model off the Renault-Nissan small-car platform to be produced and sold in Europe. But its design was not created in Europe.
'It is too rigid to say that its design is Japanese, or European,' said Nakamura. 'The car has been designed in Japan, with a lot of European input from our German studio. It will retain the rounded shape of the current model.'
Nissan works closely with Renault on design matters, said Nakamura. 'We talk about process synergies, and more design differentiation between the brands.'
Nakamura said all new Nissan projects have been reviewed since President Carlos Ghosn's arrival from Renault in 1999.
'We made small changes to the next Primera,' he said, 'and the X-Trail sport-utility received minor modifications to the bumpers and grille.'