It is fairly typical for emcees at auto shows to receive applause at the end of their new-model presentations. But for the audience to burst into applause at the beginning of a presentation requires true showmanship.
Dongfeng, the Chinese subsidiary of Japanese automaker Nissan, has accomplished this feat two years in a row with its jaw-dropping interactive augmented reality (AR) presentations of two models: its flagship Teana sedan at the company’s Guangzhou, China, headquarters in 2013, and again in 2014 with the re-launch of its X-Trail SUV in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in midwest China.
Unlike most auto show presentations, where the car sits unmoving on stage, the Dongfeng AR presentations can show the car in motion.
“A conventional product presentation is no longer enough to communicate all core messages and USPs (unique selling points) of a product in an emotionally charged, memorable way,” said Jason Yang, vice president of Sales & Marketing, who conducted both presentations. “That’s why we used AR technology for the first time at a launch presentation, and why we repeated it a year later with even more angles and environments. The results exceeded our wildest dreams.”
In the 2013 presentation, several of the 1,000 audience members gasped as the virtual Teana appeared to drive from the conference hall onto the stage, its body panels glinting beneath the spotlights. As Yang moved his arms the body disappeared, giving the audience an unobstructed view of the car’s interior while Yang described major appointments. More arm waving made the interior disappear to reveal the chassis and drive train. Raising his arms, Yang appeared to lift the engine into the air to display its features. The video attracted 1.2 million views on the YouKu website.
In the 2014 presentation, which attracted 1,800 journalists, a movie projected onto a screen behind the stage showed an X-Trail driving toward the audience. As it reached the stage the SUV disappeared for a moment, then burst from the screen and onto the stage as an AR vehicle. Other enhancements in 2014 included interactive demonstrations of the SUV’s sure-footed balance and handling performance in three different environments: snow-covered mountainous terrain; a bumpy off-road setting; and on a winding road.
“As firm believers in the idea of intertwined high-end technology and creativity, we are determined to amaze the world and our customers continuously with memorable experiences,” Yang said.