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Nissan to close Michigan design studio

Tue, 27 Jan 2009 00:00:00 -0800

In a cost-cutting move, Nissan is shutting its design studio at its research-and-development complex in suburban Detroit and moving the work to its main U.S. design studio in San Diego.

The design studio in Farmington Hills, Mich., opened in 2005. Nissan spent $14 million on the studio as part of an $80 million expansion project at the R&D facility.

A mix of high-tech and artist's loft, the 50,900-square-foot studio has sliding walls and a giant video wall to view designs at full size. There is a courtyard where vehicles can be seen outdoors, dubbed the "egg," with metal privacy screens. Entry to the studio is via a giant sliding metal door with a large black N on its face.

Thirty designers work in the Farmington Hills studio. Most will be offered the chance to transfer to the San Diego studio, Nissan said.

The Michigan studio space will be reconfigured for use by engineers, Nissan said.

In addition to closing the design studio, Nissan also said it is closing four regional sales offices. In all, the automaker expects to cut about 100 jobs.

By Dale Jewett