Car lovers will probably need no convincing that the process of designing a new vehicle for the road is an art all of its own.
That is probably why Nissan decided to hold a four-day pre-launch event for its next generation Qashqai – one of the company’s best performing cash cows – at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
Weekend visitors to the gallery will have been in no doubt there was something a bit different going on at the Baltic, with the paved entrance area transformed into a temporary car dealer forecourt.
The Millennium Bridge sporting a red glow in honour of the company colours and inside the gallery, Level One was devoted to the company’s latest addition, which will be formally launched at the Washington plant on Wednesday.
A selection of glossy conceptual design images adorned the walls, offering the rarely-seen back story, which was developed at Nissan’s design centre in London and technical centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, to what is being described as the new Qashqai’s “bold design”.
There was also a mini cinema, offering a brief history of Nissan in the North East, while on Saturday, visitors had the opportunity to speak informally with Nissan’s recruitment team about existing vacancies at the company.
Dave said: “We just thought we’d pop in with the boys to let them have a look. They seem to like it!”
Carl and Amy Jorgeson, from Hartlepool, said they were initially surprised to see a car appearing in an art gallery. The couple were visiting Baltic with their 18-month-old son Perrin.
Amy said: “You don’t expect to see a new car being shown in a gallery, but when you look at all the conceptual designs on the walls and the car itself, it’s a lot more artistic than the last model.”
Carl, whose father works at Nissan, added: “We just came to come to Baltic, but thought we’d have a look. I was surprised there was a new model coming out, but I prefer the new design to the old one. It’s more of a manly look!”
Production of the new vehicle at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant was announced in 2011 following the soar-away success of the first generation Qashqai, which is the highest volume car made in Britain and has helped Nissan to become the biggest UK carmaker of all time, with plant production recently passing one million vehicles in two years.