NISSAN HAS DESIGNS on a new family face for its future line-up, the Japanese carmaker's Chief of Design Shiro Nakamura told industry paper Automotive News this week.
Addressing internal concerns that the company lacks a consistent style across its model range, Nakamura said his department will work to give Nissan's identity a makeover.
“For core models that appeal to the mainstream, such as sedans and hatchbacks, there is a demand for stronger consistency,” Nakamura said during a tour of Nissan’s Tokyo-based design studio. “We need to express our own identity more.”
Nakamura said that strong competition from rivals, such as Mazda's now-familiar 'smile', meant that Nissan must do more to stand out from the pack.
He added that while the US-market Sentra, Altima and Maxima models feature common styling points (along with the Dualis and Murano, both available in Australia) there is still room for improvement across the brand's other models.
Nissan's design boss said that while its mass-market models will be the focus of its 'family face' overhaul, models like the 370Z, GT-R and the Juke will not necessarily be included. Infiniti, the Japanese carmaker's luxury arm, is also expected to avoid the knife - for now.
Nakamura said that the recently-revealed Leaf electric car was deliberately designed to look more like a 'regular' car rather than the more futuristic styling adopted by competitors, so as to avoid alienating potential buyers.
"We weren't aiming for something totally different," Nakamura said. "We want it to be mainstream."
He said that, once the Leaf is an established model, more freedom will be given in the design of the second- and third-generation versions of the company's new EV.
As for the brand's regular models, Nakamura would not say if his idea of Nissan's new family face was evident in the all-new 2011 Micra, or if it would be seen in models beyond this generation.