Opened in San Diego, California in 1979, the center was named Nissan Design International and it quickly got to work developing scale models of the iconic 300ZX. It was followed by the Puslar NX which was launched in 1986.
Despite the studio’s early focus on sport cars, they also had a hand in designing a number of trucks and SUVs including the 1986 Pathfinder. However, Nissan Design International’s first concept to make it into production was the 1986 Hardbody pickup.
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Given America’s love after with trucks and SUVs, Nissan Design International also played in an important role developing the 1999 Nissan Xterra and Frontier Crew Cab. The company proudly notes the latter was the first compact pickup to feature four full-sized doors.
The studio was renamed Nissan Design America in 2002 and the name change coincided with the launch of the third-generation Altima. The studio eventually returned to sports cars as they played a role in designing the 2003 Z350, 2009 370Z and 2009 GT-R. However, in the case of the GT-R, the studio’s work was limited to the early design phase.
More recently, Nissan Design America has helped to create the 2019 Altima and 2020 Titan. Unsurprisingly, they also worked on the 2020 Sentra which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show earlier this week.
While those are just some of the highlights, Nissan says their American studio has contributed to the design of approximately 20 concepts and 30 production models. This includes work on the exterior, interior, color and material choices, and user experience / user interface.