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Who's Where: Mamoru Aoki and Koji Nagano promoted to Nissan executive design directors

Wed, 29 May 2013

Mamoru Aoki and Koji Nagano have been promoted to Nissan executive design directors, reporting to head of design Shiro Nakamura.

Mamoru Aoki is now responsible for the design and development of all Nissan brand passenger and electric vehicles as well as design strategy and is based at the carmaker's Design Center in Atsugi, Japan.

Koji Nagano – previously design director at Infiniti – now manages the design development of the new Datsun brand and Nissan brand light commercial vehicles. He has also been appointed vice president of Nissan Design Europe and splits his time between Atsugi and London.

Aoki, who spent ten years from 2000 to 2010 as Product chief designer, is credited with the Cima, Infiniti-M, Fairlady-Z and the Infiniti Essence concept. His work as chief designer at Nissan Design Europe in Munich, Germany, includes the Primera and the March. In his early days with Nissan, he was in charge of the exterior design of the P10 Primera and S13 180 SX Silvia, while he also worked on the Laurel, Maxima and Altima as an exterior designer.

He graduated from Chiba University in March 1981 with a degree in Industrial Design. He joined Nissan in that year, completing seven years in the Design Department before joining Art Center College of Design Europe, where he completed a one-year program.

Nagano, a graduate from the Kyushu Institute of Design and Art Center College of Design Europe, has been at Nissan since 1980 and during a four-year stint from 1997 to 2001 as a Product chief designer, he can count the Primera, Murano and the FX45 among his achievements. As a designer he was also in charge of the design of the Sunny and Silvia models.

Speaking to Car Design News, Aoki says, "through the enhancement of consistency among Nissan models, I intend to create a definite and intensive design expression for the overall Nissan brand, including the exterior, interior and color design.

"Since last year, Nissan unveiled three new concept cars; Extrem (São Paulo), Resonance (NAIAS) and Friend-ME (Shanghai). These are the beginning of new Nissan design."

Nagano says; "I hope to create attractive designs that surpass customers' expectations for both brands. This year is the beginning of an introduction of Datsun, and I would like to deliver a clear image."

Alfonso Albaisa was recently appointed Infiniti's new executive design director as part of the brand's restructuring to increase its global appeal.

By Rufus Thompson