Nissan has opened a satellite design studio in Rio de Janeiro to explore Brazil’s unique passion for automotive design and desire for quality products with high-character and high-energy design.
Located at Nissan Brazil’s headquarters, Nissan Design America Rio (NDA-R) is tasked with researching further into Brazil’s design taste and consumer’s needs.
“To Nissan, Brazil has been one of the key markets, and design can do more for the Brazilian market,” said Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “We want to inject more of the energy and enthusiasm of the Brazilian people into our global products.”
The Rio de Janeiro location was selected because it has “everything that fuels creativity,” according to Nakamura. “Rio has Nissan Brazil HQ, and it has the most wonderful combination of art, lifestyle, vibrancy of the city and natural beauty. This is where designers want to be,” he said.
All of Nissan’s products are designed in global collaboration, leveraging the strength, creative talents and unique skill sets of each studio location under the leadership of Nakamura. With design headquarters in Atsugi, Japan, Nissan has several other design centers around the world including locations in London (NDE), Beijing (NDC) and San Diego (NDA), as well as a facility in Silicon Valley.
In 2012, as the first design exploration exercise exclusive to Brazil, Nissan developed the Extrem concept in collaboration with Brazilian designers which the company then displayed at the São Paulo auto show. The opening of the design studio further signals Nissan’s commitment to Brazil and its market.
To lead the research and design activities at NDA-R, NDA’s vice president Taro Ueda dispatched one of his design managers, Robert Bauer, to Rio de Janeiro last November. Bauer, an Art Center graduate who has worked at Ford as well as Nissan’s San Diego design facility (NDA), has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry and has worked on a number of concept and production vehicle design for Nissan, including the 2012 Extrem concept.
“We know that Brazilian consumers appreciate refined, high-quality products, something that reflects the country’s growing momentum,” Bauer said. “We are now here. We want to learn more about the country, its people and the culture, and experience what people see and do every day.”
Another important task for NDA-R is to investigate local design talent and resources. Nakamura is impressed with how Brazilian design professionals discuss automotive Design. “I have never seen this much enthusiasm for design in any other place,” he said.
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