Nissan’s chief designer, Shiro Nakamura, who styled hugely significant cars including the Nissan GT-R, Nissan Qashqai, 350Z, Nissan Juke, Nissan Leaf and Cube, retired in March after 17 years with the manufacturer.
Nakamura, 66, was brought to Nissan by Carlos Ghosn. The firm soon underwent a remarkable turnaround, going from the brink of bankruptcy to huge sales successes, among them the Qashqai, which sparked the crossover boom. In recent years, Nakamura has overseen all kinds of projects, from the super-budget Datsun brand to more experimental work with Nissan’s flagship Infiniti marque.
Nakamura’s replacement, Albaisa, joined Infiniti in 2013 and designed the QX30 and QX50, as well as the Q80 Inspiration concept car. We caught up with Nakamura at the Geneva motor show, where he revealed details of many of the projects he’ll be handing over to his successor.
You’ve just facelifted the second-gen Qashqai. Are you working on its replacement?
“The next one is much more of a challenge because we have to make progress but maintain the Qashqai feel. It’s not a case of reinventing the Qashqai because it’s still the bestselling crossover. We don’t just protect today’s strengths; we have to go further. We’ve nearly finished it – it’s two or three years away.”