Nissan GT-R's New Chief Engineer Tackles Big Tasks, Including Hybrid Model


  • 2014 Nissan GT-R Picture

    2014 Nissan GT-R Picture

    The Nissan GT-R has a new chief vehicle engineer. | April 26, 2013

3 Photos

Just the Facts:
  • The Nissan GT-R's new chief vehicle engineer must juggle several tasks, including helping to boost slipping sales of the car and overseeing product changes, including hybrid and Nismo versions.
  • Kinishi Tanuma has been named GT-R chief vehicle engineer, replacing Kazutoshi Mizuno, who also acted as the GT-R's "main front man and cheerleader," according to Nissan.
  • Tanuma was the chief vehicle engineer for Infiniti vehicles until his new assignment.

YOKOHOMA, Japan — The Nissan GT-R's new chief vehicle engineer must juggle several tasks, including helping to boost slipping sales of the car and overseeing product changes, including hybrid and Nismo versions.

Kinishi Tanuma has been named GT-R chief vehicle engineer, replacing Kazutoshi Mizuno, who also acted as the GT-R's "main front man and cheerleader," according to Nissan. Mizuno, who was chief vehicle engineer and chief product specialist for GT-R, retired from Nissan on March 31.

"Mizuno-san left for personal reasons and did not make any statements prior to his departure," wrote Jeff Kuhlman, a Nissan spokesman, in an e-mailed message to Edmunds on Friday. "We are grateful for his dedication and contributions to develop the GT-R into the world's most approachable supercar."

Tanuma was the chief vehicle engineer for Infiniti vehicles until his new assignment. Nissan said Tanuma has had a long career in vehicle development for Nissan, including time spent in Japan and Europe. He joined Nissan in 1987.

Tanuma must fill big shoes with the departure of Mizuno, who was one of those rare automotive engineers who had achieved celebrity status. His name became synonymous with GT-R. Last November, Nissan posted a YouTube video essentially celebrating Mizuno and his work with GT-R.

"Mizuno had all of the discretion on the product previously," said Kuhlman in a phone conversation with Edmunds. "(Tanuma) will have all the product clout in the world. The GT-R remains very important in terms of what it does for the Nissan brand."

He added: "The (Nissan) CEO is fully committed to this car. Mr. (Carlos) Ghosn is behind this car."

Kuhlman confirmed that Nissan is planning a hybrid version of the GT-R in the future, along with a Nismo version that was announced earlier.

In February, Nissan announced that the Nissan GT-R Nismo is in the works, as the automaker kicks off a new era for the Nismo performance and motorsports brand. No word yet on a launch date or pricing for the GT-R Nismo.

"It would be unthinkable for us to develop a range of Nismo road cars without including the GT-R," said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in a statement at the time.

Kuhlman acknowledged that the global automotive downturn has had an impact on GT-R.

Nissan sold 3,088 GT-Rs worldwide in 2012 versus 3,262 in 2011, a drop of 5 percent. In the U.S., GT-R sales declined 8.2 percent last year. Nissan sold 1,188 GT-Rs in the U.S. in 2012 versus 1,294 in 2011, according to the company's year-end sales report.

Edmunds says: The GT-R torch has been passed to a new chief vehicle engineer, who gets ready to put his own stamp on what Nissan calls the "most attainable performance car in the world."

Comments

  • stirringpot stirringpot Posts:

    The price of these cars increase every model year. It's no wonder as to why the sales decrease.

Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT

Featured Video

ADVERTISEMENT

Marketplace

up2drive

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan


Car.com

Credit Problems?
We can help you get Financing!

ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific