Infiniti Installs Taisuke Nakamura As New Design Chief

Infiniti installs Taisuke Nakamura as new design chief

The cubicles and corner offices at Infiniti HQ in Japan continue to change hands. Infiniti Global Design Chief Karim Habib, only in that position for about two years since leaving BMW in 2017, has left the Japanese luxury brand "to pursue other opportunities." In his place, Nissan has elevated Taisuke Nakamura, a 26-year company veteran who is currently Nissan's program design director responsible for global design strategy, and concept car and production vehicle design. Nakamura has a stout design résumé in service to both Nissan and Infiniti, having worked on the Qs Inspiration sedan concept (above) shown at the Shanghai Motor Show in April, the QX Inspiration crossover concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show this year (below), and the Prototype 10 speedster concept revealed at Pebble Beach last year (bottom). All of those were electric concepts, making Nakamura the point man for Infiniti's push into electric vehicles and hybrids, and the carmaker's introduction of a new design language. Last year, Infiniti said it would have a new EV on the market in 2021, as well as "e-Power" series hybrids with small battery packs charged by gas-powered generators.   Those EVs should fully embody the brand's new design DNA, seen initially in the recent concepts. The automaker said around the Qs reveal that the new "aesthetics are underpinned by Infiniti's desire to challenge convention and design cars which are engaging, enriching, enabling and enchanting – what the company calls its ‘4EN' approach to design." At the QX reveal in January, Habib said that as engineers made a "shift towards smarter, more compact and less intrusive powertrains, we were able to create an alternative form with flowing gestures, more engaging in character and more enriching in experience. With its long cabin, balanced proportions and muscular stance, the concept heralds in a new era for Infiniti models." Infiniti said Nakamura takes up his post next week, Sept. 1, and will report to the same boss he has now, Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan's global design head. Aside from Habib, other top non-Japanese Nissan executives such as Daniele Schillaci, Jose Munoz and Trevor Mann have left the Japanese automaker in the recent past, since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn. The former chairman, who faces charges of fraud and misconduct, is awaiting trial in Japan over charges including enriching himself at a cost of $5 million to Nissan, Japan's No. 2 automaker. Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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Infiniti installs Taisuke Nakamura as new design chiefInfiniti installs Taisuke Nakamura as new design chief