Shiro Nakamura: The interior of the Quest minivan is too radical.
Its unusual redesign for the 2004 model year failed to connect with U.S. buyers. Quest sales are barely half of what the company projected. Nissan sold 22,673 Quests through June.
Shiro Nakamura, the top designer for Nissan Motor Co., says that Nissan will stay in the minivan segment. But when the Quest is redesigned in a few years, it will not be traditional.
Nakamura talked with Staff Reporter Kathy Jackson at Nissan's design center in La Jolla, Calif., on July 14.
Nissan prides itself on edgy, distinctive design, but your Quest has not scored well with the U.S. public. Does a minivan fit Nissan's image?
I think we need a minivan. So there will be a next Quest. The exterior is not that much different from other minivans. The interior was too radical. That's why we did a (interior) face-lift for the (2006) model.
Will the redesigned Quest be more conservative? Will it resemble other minivans?
We're discussing the redesign now. We don't need to go so much on the conservative side. We should maintain the authenticity. We still want to be as distinct as possible, but we also have to be accepted.
What do you need to change to be accepted?
We need to give new value to the minivan. People are bored with the minivan. The minivan is getting too conservative. Our direction was OK, but the execution was not.
Will it be an entirely different type vehicle?
We're still trying to find our possibility. We do not plan to go back to the traditional minivan.
You may e-mail Kathy Jackson at [email protected]