Shiro Nakamura, who joined Nissan in 1999, was responsible for the company’s design renaissance, and has supervised the development of models such as the 350/370Z and the iconic Juke.
Below we report a complete biography and profile.
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.
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.
He has been the senior vice president of Design since 2001 and assigned to the Chief Creative Officer position in April 2006.
In this role, he was 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.
Career History – 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
During his career he received several awards: the 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