Friday, March 14, 2008, posted by Auto Rider at 10:18 PM


Car designing may be compared with just about any form of art. For Shiro Nakamura, designing cars is like making music.

Nakamura’s work at Nissan, which manufactures premium cars under the Infiniti brand, involves a range of music. Each segment is treated as a different repertoire. It requires different rhythm, different lyrics.
"Luxury cars are like classical music: you have to respect certain rules - otherwise they will not be accepted," he noted, motioning to the models showcased at the Geneva Motor Show’s Infiniti stand. "The Nissan brand is more like jazz, pop or rock: you can ignore the rules."
The greatest challenge facing auto designers is to come up with a unique and captivating car that captures the soft spot of the masses. "Nissan draws hints from contemporary Japan – things like animation, and 'manga' (comics)," Nakamura told Reuters.

One of the most unique vehicles showcased by the Japanese automaker is the egg-shaped Pivo2 electric car concept. "With concept cars, we pull out all the stops - it's very cute and Japanese. You won't see anyone else doing something like this," he said. "But with mass-production cars, you want to tone it down without losing the essence, so they can be accepted by consumers.”

Nissan cars also hint extreme Japanese pop culture. Take the remodeled GT-R sports car. The iconic car is inspired by robot cult-comics like Gundam. "The GT-R is a total muscle car. It's completely unusual in Europe, very manga-like and mechanical, like Gundam," Nakamura said. "It's not traditional in any sense -- not elegant or aerodynamic. And that's okay, because this isn't a volume seller, and shouldn't be."

Infiniti, meanwhile, must have the elegance and universal characteristics that appeal to luxury goods consumers worldwide, Nakamura noted. "Infiniti's design, unlike Nissan's, is global and more inspired by nature," he added. "The reason is simple: customers seeking luxury have a common eye all over the world. It's the same with fashion."

Asked which is more challenging – the structure of classical music or the freedom of the jazz, Nakamura has this to say: "It's a different type of difficulty. In either case, it's a competition."

Any form of art is a form of power. Nissan’s styling epitomizes captivating music – that’s why it is powerful. And behind the power that it creates is a man named Shiro Nakamura.

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