Nissan Celebrates 50 Years Of Design | Part Two

The New Millennium

Following the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 1999, new CEO Carlos Ghosn recognised the importance of design as the "face" of the Nissan brand and consequently head-hunted Shiro Nakamura for the position of Head of Design. Nakamura had previously held various senior positions within Isuzu Motors Ltd and he was tasked with the challenge of reviewing the complete Nissan model range to revive the brand’s image but with a tight brief to retain its Japanese influence.

To the credit of Nakamura and his 700-strong team, between 2000 and 2003, 23 new production models and 19 concept cars were launched around the world. Nissan went on to announce that it had achieved its targets one year ahead of the three year Nissan Revival Plan and had reaffirmed its position in the global market.

European Design Focus

All Nissan designers explore a common philosophy to be clear, creative, consistent, yet use their experience of regional cultures and their market’s unique preferences. Of its six worldwide design locations, the establishment of the latest studio in Paddington, London in January 2003 demonstrated Nissan’s commitment to design for the European market. With over 50 designers and modellers, the state-of-the-art facility at Nissan Design Europe has recently introduced the latest in presentation technology through a ‘power wall’ whereby life-size, three dimensional images are projected on a large screen for analysis and changes can be made to the colour, design and image at the touch of a button.

Nissan’s concept cross-over vehicle the QASHQAI, was penned in London and was their first fully completed project which went on to win Best Concept Car Award at this year’s Birmingham Motor Show.

Designs For The Future

Design remains key to Nissan’s future growth and it will continue to challenge the conventional in its objective to create bold, distinctive products.

Conran & Partners, a name synonymous with contemporary design and functionality, recently joined with Nissan to create a premium quality feel to the interior of the Cube3, a show car which was exhibited at Tokyo Motor Show 2003.

A variety of Nissan’s models, from past, present and future are currently on display at Nissan Headquarter’s gallery and the Nissan Ginza Gallery, with a mixture of full-size and scale models of some of Nissan’s most popular vehicles.

Key Facts
  • Nissan has six design centres worldwide
  • Japan (1954) Nissan Design Center, Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa
  • (1972) Nissan Shatai Co. Ltd, Hiratsuka City
  • (1987) Creative Box, Shibuya, Tokyo
  • US (1979) Nissan Design America, San Diego, California
  • (1989) Nissan Design America f-h
  • Europe (2003) Nissan Design Europe, London
Published 20 August 2004 Melanie Carter

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