Nissan North America Inc. spent $14 million to upgrade its technical center in Farmington Hills, Mich., with a new design studio. Why? To tap into the area's large base of auto suppliers - and to crank out more vehicles for the United States.
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 is via a giant sliding metal door with a large black N on its face, which could stand for either Nissan or design chief Shiro Nakamura.
The hardware includes a clay-modeling bedplate that Nissan says is the longest in the industry and a five-axis milling machine that can take electronic designs and cut a precise, full-sized clay model. The number of designers on-site has been increased to 30, from 12, and the space can handle as many as 45 designers.
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