Just had a nice long chat with Alfonso Albaisa, the Cuban-American vice president design for Nissan North America, and head of Nissan's Design Centre in La Jolla California.
He was showing us details about the new Infiniti JX which debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show tomorrow - we can't tell you anything about it until after the press conference.
But he did wax extremely eloquent about the differences between Nissan and Infiniti designs.
“Infiniti is more organic, more flowing, while Nissan tries to be more technical. We have guidelines posted on the walls of our studios, reminding us every day of the direction we want to go.
“We could probably make a business case for separate studios, but I like being able to work on both.
“Our designers are very competitive, and hungry. They want their designs to be chosen for production. Management's job is to choose winning designs which best fit the design direction for the individual brands.
“We compete with the other design centres in Japan, China and London England. We win more than we lose, but I tell you, it's like a morgue around here when we lose!”
The 'Essence' concept car was not chosen for production. Did that hurt?
“We will be seeing many elements from that car in various production vehicles over the coming years,” Albaisa said. “So that helps us accept that fact.
“Things like the 'crescent cut' treatment of the rear roof pillar which will become a design icon for the Infiniti brand.”
In the JX?
“You'll see tomorrow!”
Albaisa's teams have a lot on their plates.
“When we opened here 30 years ago, we typically did one and a half cars a year - maybe two exteriors and one interior. Today with just twice as many staff we do THIRTY projects! The technology is so different, the processes so much faster.”
A good job, because Nissan will be launching a new car every six weeks over the next six years.