The veteran designer, 66, will be replaced by Infiniti's head of design, Alfonso Albaisa; ex-BMW man Karim Habib to take up role with Infiniti

Nissan’s chief designer, Shiro Nakamura, who styled hugely significant cars including the Nissan Qashqai, GT-R, 350Z, Juke and Leaf, will retire at the end of this month after 17 years with the manufacturer.

Nakamura will be replaced by American Alfonso Albaisa, 52, who is currently head of design at Infiniti, with ex-BMW chief designer Karim Habib, 46, taking up his then-vacated role.

How the Nissan Qashqai became king of the crossovers

66-year old Nakamura was first brought to Nissan in 1999 by Carlos Ghosn, and Nissan soon went on a remarkable turnaround which took it from the brink of bankruptcy to huge sales success with its Qashqai model leading the crossover boom.

Recently, Nakamura has overseen everything from the super-budget Datsun brand across to more experimental work with Nissan's flagship Infiniti marque.

Nakamura's replacement, Albaisa, joined Infiniti in 2013 and went on to help design the QX30 and QX50, as well as the Q80 Inspiration concept car.

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Habib joins Nissan from BMW, where Jozef Kabaň is now chief designer. Canadian Habib joined the German manufacturer in 2012 but stepped down earlier this year. It was initially rumoured that he would move to Volkswagen, but he has now joined Infiniti.

Blog: Why Shiro Nakamura leaves Nissan as a legend

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Our Verdict

Nissan GT-R

A revamp aims to make the ageing Japanese super-coupé more usable, but more dynamic rivals still have an edge - if not the outright pace of Nissan's indomitable GT-R

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week