Infiniti readies dedicated design centers

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Infiniti will open three design studios around the world in the coming weeks, all of them intended to separate its luxury-vehicle designers from the Nissan stylists next door.

Infiniti will open a London studio next month in a separate building only a few steps from its Nissan studio there.

Later this fall, Infiniti will launch a dedicated studio inside Nissan's long-established San Diego design center, which has been divided into two facilities for the job.

A Chinese Infiniti studio will open by year end in Shanghai in an upstairs expansion at Nissan's operations, says Shiro Nakamura, head of global design at Nissan Motor Corp.

Separately, the Nissan brand this month opened its first Brazilian design studio, in Rio de Janeiro.

Nakamura says it is important for Infiniti to maintain separate quarters for its designers.

"We have to share the back office, but now we have dedicated space for Infiniti," he said at this month's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance here.

"It's OK for them to talk to each other," he says of Nissan and Infiniti designers in the same location, "but it's important for them to concentrate 100 percent on their own projects."

You can reach Lindsay Chappell at lchappell@crain.com.


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