Satoru TAI - Executive Design Director, Vice President of Creative Box Inc.
Who is Satoru Tai?
Satoru Tai is responsible for the design and development of all Nissan electric vehicles and Kei-Car, small passenger cars unique to Japan, Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs), and is partly based at the company's ‘Creative Box' in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan.
As well as overseeing the design direction at ‘Creative Box', Satoru Tai is also tasked with managing Nissan's international designers across the world within his remit.
Over the years he has led or influenced the design of some of Nissans most significant halo models including Cube, GT-R, Juke and show cars. These cars redefined segments and were a significant change for the Nissan brand.
Other than a five year career break, Satoru Tai has worked for Nissan for the past 33 years - having joined the design department as a graduate in 1982.
His passion for the automotive industry started when he was 14 and has continued to grow from strength to strength over the years. As Nissan was his local company, it seemed like a natural fit to work for it.
From 1982 through to 2007, Satoru Tai held numerous positions in the Design and Product Planning teams, including a four-year stint as the Principal Design Researcher at Nissan Research and Development in the United States.
In 1998, he was appointed the Product Chief Designer responsible for the Micra and Cube models. Five years later he moved to the Nissan's vehicle design studio in Paddington, London, where he served as Vice President of Nissan Design Europe (NDE). In 2007 he left Nissan to spend time with his family, returning in 2012 as Vice President of Creative Box and Chief Designer of Nissan before being appointed to his current role as executive design director two years later.
Achievements at Nissan
Satoru Tai is most proud of his involvement in the design of new concepts which challenge the existing way of doing things. He enjoys being able to see how people respond to shapes and ideas, and loves having the freedom to be part of a process that then sparks the public imagination.
One of the most standout moments in his life was seeing that mustard-coloured Porsche in the parking area of a golf driving range because "until then I'd never considered a career in automotive and that was the defining moment", he said. "At the time my initial dream was to be the owner of a car like that but as time went on, I realised I could also design them!".
Why is Nissan Different?
"At Nissan we are given the flexibility and opportunity to be creative", Satoru Tai said. "We are able to focus on bold designs that get people talking - and look what it achieves. We become leaders of segments and then redefine or create new ones."
Satoru Tai believes people's expectations of what their cars should, and can do for them, will continue to evolve as the technology on board rapidly increases. As, fundamentally, the capability of cars change, he believes the way they are designed will also evolve.
In Satoru Tai's Personal Time
Satoru Tai enjoys spending time with his family, particularly climbing, camping, and bicycling.
Satoru Tai's Current Ride
He currently drives a Nissan NV350 modified caravan and his first car was a yellow Isuzu Gemini.