ATSUGI, Japan--Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura plans to overhaul styling of the company's sedans and compact cars to give them a more consistent look.
Nakamura says greater competition in those segments and new entries from rival companies are putting pressure on Nissan to stand out from the pack. His design team is working on the new design language, which he says will debut in the next couple of years.
"For core models that appeal to the mainstream, such as sedans and hatchbacks, there is a demand for stronger consistency," Nakamura said during a March 26 tour of Nissan's global design studio south of Tokyo. "We need to express our own identity more."
Nakamura said the Sentra, Altima and Maxima already have fairly well unified styling points, but he said there is still room for improvement. He declined to give details.
Outside the mass-market range, Nissan will still aim for provocative models like the Cube and new Juke crossover, he added. The Infiniti line is not part of the overhaul, Nakamura said.
He also plans a more futuristic design for the second-generation Leaf electric car. The styling for the first generation Leaf, which goes on sale later this year, was intentionally kept close to the image of a traditional gasoline-powered car so it wouldn't alienate customers.
"We weren't aiming for something totally different," Nakamura said. "We want it to be mainstream."
But he predicted greater liberties in designing the second- and third-generation cars. He cited the Pivo, Nissan's bubble-shaped concept car, as an example of the design direction.
"A completely different packaging will be enabled compared to an internal combustion engine car," Nakamura said. "We will try to achieve a different styling for the next-generation electric vehicle."
(Source: Automotive News)