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Nissan Design America

FACT SHEET: Nissan Design America

Founded: 1979 as Nissan Design International (NDI), Inc. in San Diego, CA.
Current location: 9800 Campus Point Drive, San Diego, CA 92121
Operation: Automotive design, including exterior, interior, color and material design for both NISSAN and INFINITI Brands. NDA is a division of Nissan North America, Inc.

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Nissan Design America (NDA) began as Nissan Design International in 1979 in San Diego, established as a satellite studio for Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Its original mission was to provide a local perspective on the North American market and generate innovative ideas and design. After 40 years in operation, NDA is now a full-production automotive design studio capable of handling all phases of automotive design development, from exploratory to production. NDA also has had design support operations in Silicon Valley (California, U.S.) since 2013.

NDA is part of the Global Nissan Design organization led by Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President of Global Design for Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. The global organization consists of NDA, Nissan Global Design Center (NGDC, Atsugi, Japan), Creative Box, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan), Nissan Design Europe (London), Nissan Design China (Shanghai, China) and small design offices in India, Thailand and Brazil.

NDA designs vehicles with emphasis on the Americas region with sensitivity for the global market, in close collaboration with its counterparts at NGDC and Nissan Technical Centers in Japan and North America. NDA's recent contribution includes the all-new 2019 Altima, Maxima and Murano refresh, Titan full-size truck, as well as Nissan IMs concept which debuted at the 2019 North American International Auto Show.

Nissan Design International design studio, 1982

Timeline of key events involving NDA and products designed by NDA (indicated in BOLD)




Vmotion 2.0, a concept vehicle that signals Nissan’s future sedan design direction and Intelligent Mobility technology, was revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The vehicle combines a high sense of style, emotional design, roominess, comfort and technology to make the mobility experience seamless for busy professionals constantly on the go. (January)

Nissan Vmotion 2.0



Designed, engineered, tested and built in America, photos of the 2017 Nissan Titan full-size truck were released. (February)
At NAIAS, 2016 Nissan Titan Warrior Concept showed off the new extremes with aggressive, athletic styling suggesting off-road adventure possibilities for the Titan XD.






Following the initiative by the global INFINITI design operation, a dedicated studio space for INFINITI design development was created within NDA at its San Diego location.
All-New 2016 Nissan Titan XD marked Nissan’s bold reentry into the full-size truck market at NAIAS. (January)






2014 Nissan Kicks Concept, a compact crossover, premiered at the São Paulo International Motor Show. (October)
All-New 2015 Nissan Murano debuted at the NYIAS. (April)






NDA started supporting HMI design development activities in Silicon Valley.
Sophisticated and edgy, 2013 Nissan Resonance Concept offered a glimpse of a future mid-size crossover at NAIAS. (January)






Nissan Extrem Concept



Nissan Extrem Concept, designed for the vibrant Brazil market in mind, debuted at the São Paulo International Auto Show. (October.
All-new Nissan Altima sedan was revealed at the New York International Auto Show. (March)






NDA designed and built an A-class Catamaran in Mexicali and raced in the 2011 Cat-A World Championships in Denmark. (August)
Nissan won New York City’s "Taxi of Tomorrow" project; awarded contract to supply NV200 cabs for one decade. (May)






All-new Nissan NV full-size commercial van went on sale.
Nissan Ellure Concept was revealed at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. (November)
NDA opened its model milling and CAD data processing facility in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. (January)






NDA celebrated its 30th anniversary.
NDA’s two studio were integrated into one location in San Diego. (September)
Nissan NV2500 Concept was revealed. (February)






Icon A5, a new category of personal aircraft, was revealed. NDA partnered with Icon Aircraft to jointly design the all-new aircraft.
All-new 2009 Nissan GT-R went on sale in July. NDA contributed to the early design phase of the car.
All-new 2009 Nissan Maxima was revealed at NYIAS (March).
An innovative proposal for a future minivan Nissan Forum Concept was revealed at NAIAS (January).






Nissan Rogue crossover SUV went on sale.
Nissan Bevel Concept was revealed at NAIAS.






All-new Altima was revealed at NYIAS.
All-new Sentra and URGE concept were revealed at NAIAS.






Nissan AZEAL Concept



Azeal, the first concept car designed at NDA's Farmington Hills studio, was revealed at NAIAS.
NDA San Diego’s studio renovation completed; reopened in July.
NDA Farmington Hills Studio officially opened in March.






Actic concept car was revealed at NAIAS; Nissan's first full-size truck/SUV series, Titan, Armada and Infiniti QX56, went on sale; all-new Quest with a category-busting design also went on sale.






NDI was renamed Nissan Design America (NDA).
Quest Concept was revealed. Nissan Altima received 2002 North American Car of the Year Award; 350Z, a global collaboration among NDA, NDC (Japan) and NDE (Europe), went on sale.






Frontier minor change by NDI reignited the sales of the pickup truck.
NDI was charged with managing the production design studio at the NTCNA facility in Farmington Hills, MI. Nissan unveiled the 2002 Sentra SE-R, Frontier Crew Cab Long Bed and a totally new Altima (NDI designed the interior).






All-new, larger and more powerful 2000 Nissan Sentra made its entrance to the market.






Xterra went on sale; launched a trend in "no-nonsense" SUVs for outdoor enthusiasts.
Nissan and Renault signed a global partnership agreement.
Frontier Crew Cab, the first compact truck with four real doors, was introduced.






1999 Nissan Xterra



Nissan NCS (New Concept Sedan), SUT (Sports Utility Truck) and Z Concept were revealed at NAIAS.






NDI initiated a group of exploratory design projects, SUT concept, Z concept and New Concept Sedan (NCS), for internal Nissan show. The seed for the re-birth of the Z car was planted.






2nd generation Altima was introduced.






After 26 years, the Z car was "retired"; the last 300ZX imported into the U.S. was inducted into the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.






Nissan introduced all-new 200SX and fourth generation Sentra, both assembled in Smyrna, Tenn.






Nissan celebrated first 10 years of manufacturing in the United States.
One millionth Maxima sold in the United States.
Infiniti J30 went on sale.
NDI created a line of tricycles for the Angeles Corp.
Altima became the best-selling new nameplate in the United States.






NDI designed a full line of preschool/daycare furniture for the Angeles Corp. of St. Louis.






Nissan FEV-X (Future Electric Vehicle) concept and Cocoon Concept were revealed.
Nissan unveiled $490 million, 1.7 million-square-foot expansion of Smyrna, Tenn. Plant.






Nissan Gobi concept was revealed.
NDI designed a 30-meter world-class yacht for a Turkish yacht builder. Maxima debuted.






Nissan launched the Infiniti line of luxury vehicles.






HardBody pickup truck, the first NDI design to make it to full production, went on sale.
Pathfinder also went on sale, redefining sport utility vehicle design as the first urban lifestyle SUV.
Pulsar NX, the first production modular automobile went on sale.






Some of the Nissan Hardbody pickup design team circa 1990



NDI took on its first non-automotive design work from IVAC CORP to design medical instruments.






NDI's current Campus Point Drive building opened. Designed by Ken Ronchetti, who was educated first as a car designer, it was part campus, part museum, and 100% creative sandbox.
Nissan's 75th Anniversary. Nissan NX21 concept car, the first concept car designed by NDI, was revealed.






NDI's first projects consisted of concept sketches and 1/4 models for the 300ZX.






Nissan Design International, Inc. (NDI) established in La Jolla, Calif.


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Issued by Nissan