- Nissan built an accurate dealership in a virtual-reality application called VRChat.
- Nissan also created an island dedicated to test driving its new Sakura EV, which also shows the brand’s philosophy behind the car.
- Nissan Crossing and the Sakura driving experience are open to anyone with access to VRChat.
Virtual reality is becoming increasingly popular and virtual spaces are becoming more creative and detailed. It only makes sense for brands to jump on the increasing interest and try to connect with potential customers. Jumping into the wide world of VRChat, a virtual-reality application, Nissan has digitally recreated its Nissan Crossing brand experience. Set in its own space in the application, the Nissan Crossing you would see in Tokyo, Japan, is there for anyone with VRChat access to enjoy. The digital dealership also has a pair of EVs currently on display: the Nissan Sakura and the Nissan Ariya.
It’s hard to relay how odd it feels to step inside a digital Nissan dealership while disguised as an oversized cat, but that feeling is quickly replaced by sheer wonder when you start paying attention to the Nissan Crossing’s details. While bouncing around the virtual world can make some nauseated, a slow walk through this multi-level dealership helps your brain adjust to your digital surroundings. Going a step further than just having a digital dealership, the Nissan folks also made the space and the displayed cars interactive. That means you can interact with the cars, sit in the cars, and explore how much attention is paid while crafting these digital renderings. This also lets people who would otherwise never see a Japanese Nissan dealership get to experience how that feels.
Piggybacking on the launch of its Sakura EV, Nissan also added a portal to this virtual-reality world that takes you to an island where you can drive the Sakura. Of course, driving a Sakura in virtual reality feels just like you’re standing in your kitchen in Michigan. While you don’t get any semblance of a driving impression, you do get to experience some of the Sakura’s functionality. This could be invaluable while helping first-time EV buyers adjust to their new commuter. It also helps Nissan show customers and curious VRChat users the story and thoughts behind its latest product.
It might be challenging to wrap your mind around why a company would invest the time and capital into creating a digital world in an application that might be a distant memory one day. Well, the answer is pretty simple: connecting with customers. Even if this approach is way ahead of its time and this application becomes the Betamax of the VR world, it shows that Nissan is interested in, and capable of, entering a space and making an early presence. Even if this curated Nissan world is forgotten, the company still has the experience that could jump to whatever VR application or platform that comes next.
Using this tool to connect with prospective customers is an interesting solution to the age-old problem of building a relationship with customers. Lowering the barrier to let people experience the inside of a Nissan dealership—and one of its premier stores in Japan no less—and see a facsimile of a Nissan product in a showroom could build sales down the road. Something like this could even expand and help show the entire Nissan lineup to would-be buyers to help customers save time while shopping for their next car.
While reading about my time at a digital Nissan dealership might scratch your itch for the future, you can actually do this yourself. If you have something that can access the VRChat application, you can head to the Nissan Crossing dealership to see a Sakura or Aryia, and then test drive a Sakura yourself. Be warned that the future might upset your stomach.
Would you ever visit a virtual-reality car dealership? Let us know your thoughts below.
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