Published on July 14th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Toyota Lead Designer Moves To Yamaha
Akihiro “Dezi” Nagaya, a key designer who brought more emboldened, emotional styling to Toyota and Lexus vehicles, has been named design general manager for affiliate Yamaha Motor Co. His work included the first and third generation Lexus LS, the second-generation Lexus GS and the second-generation Toyota Prius.
For most of the past decade, Nagaya, 53, has been a leading design executive at Toyota Motor Corp, first as general manager of the Lexus brand planning department in Tokyo that created the “L-Finesse” styling language, and later as the chief designer for the global Toyota brand leading the movement for more passion and emotion in its vehicles. More recently, he was president of Tecno Art Research, a freelance design hub for outsourced Toyota projects, including the styling of the Lexus RC-F high-performance coupe.
Now, in a rare corporate-alliance move, Nagaya has made the move to Yamaha, effective July 1. That means he’ll be with a company that produces motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles, wheelchairs, marine products and three and four-wheeled mobility vehicles.
In the motorcycling world, Yamaha already has some of the most progressive styling, in some cases giving the fabled Italian and German brands a run for their design dollar, as seen with the VMAX, R1/R6 superbikes and Star cruisers.
But until three years ago, Yamaha didn’t really have an in-house design team. Most of its designs were outsourced to GK Design Group in Tokyo. Under the direction of Yamaha CEO Hiroyuki Yanagi, Yamaha Motor is powering up its own design efforts, with a strong thinker like Nagaya now running the shop.