- Expertise: Automobile design
- Availability: Phone interviews, motor shows, radio, TV
- Location: Atsugi / Yokohama, Japan
- Languages spoken: English, Japanese
- DOB: October 1950
Who is Shiro Nakamura?
Shiro Nakamura has been the senior vice president of Design since 2001 and assigned to the Chief Creative Officer position in April 2006. In his current role, he is responsible for presiding over the design studios around the world, overseeing the brand strategies and the design of Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun products – but also motor show booth design, retail environment and graphic direction of brand communication.
He joined Nissan in 1999 and has been responsible for many notable vehicles, including Nissan 350/370Z, Altima, CUBE, Murano, Qashqai, JUKE and the GT-R – as well as Infiniti M, G, FX, and Q50. His recent concepts include Nissan Resonance, Sport Sedan Concept, Friend-ME Concept, Kicks Concept, Infiniti Essence, Emerg-e, Q30 Concept, Q80 Inspiration and Datsun Redi-Go Concept. Before joining Nissan, Shiro Nakamura spent 25 years of his career at Isuzu Motors, working all over the world in senior level positions of the design department. He also spent time working at General Motors, and has been based in the United States, UK, Belgium and Japan.
Shiro Nakamura was born in Japan's second largest city, Osaka. He studied Industrial Design at Musashino Art College in Tokyo before joining Isuzu Motors. Shortly after joining Isuzu, Shiro Nakamura went to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California to study Transportation Design. He returned to Japan for four years before moving to General Motor's Advanced Design Studio in Detroit. From there, he travelled briefly back to Japan before heading to Europe to launch a design studio. He stayed in the UK for five years before returning to Japan.
He went back to California to be the head of product planning and design. When he returned to Japan in 1997, he was promoted to be the head of design for Isuzu, a position he held for two years before moving to Nissan.
Achievements at Nissan
Shiro Nakamura says that he is pleased to have elevated the importance of the Nissan design function. The JUKE is one of the vehicles that he is particularly proud of – describing it as having a very unique design but one that is very successful.
His memorable moment, Shiro Nakamura says, is when he joined Nissan. He said: "It was such a surprise to be called and to be asked to be the design leader. Carlos Ghosn wanted Nissan's design to change, and it really has gone in a new direction. We now have a strong voice, one that has made a large contribution to the success of the company."
Why is Nissan Different?
Shiro Nakamura describes Nissan as a company with a strong Japanese ethos, but one that also has great free thinking and flexibility. He believes that the Nissan-Renault Alliance has been so successful, for example, because of Nissan's diversity and ability to accept outside influence.
Shiro Nakamura says that cars will continue to evolve at pace and will become increasingly more diverse. He says: "Driving is not just about transportation; it's an experience. The customer wants more choice and that will never stop."
Education and Awards
- Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design, Musashino Art University, Tokyo
- Bachelor of Science in Transportation Design, Art Centre College of Design, California
- Eyes On Design Lifetime Achievement Award 2010; 100 Most Creative People 2010 – 4th Place (Fast Company, USA); Art Center's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award 2014
- Winner of the Grand Prix du Design 2015
In Shiro Nakamura's Personal Time
Shiro Nakamura plays the bass and the cello, and he leads a band that performs in various jazz clubs around Tokyo. He is also interested in vintage cars and making violins.
Shiro Nakamura's Current Ride
Shiro Nakamura has a 1965 first-generation Nissan Silvia sport coupe and a high-performance version of the original Z sports car – a 1969 Z 432. He currently drives a black Q50.