Albaisa Named Designer of the Year

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Sep 052022

Senior Vice President for Global Design for Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NML)

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Nissan lead designer Alfonso Albaisa was recently recognized for his lifetime of work as Designer of the Year in Newsweek‘s inaugural World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors awards. From the Ariya to the Nissan Z and several new models in between, Albaisa has imprinted his vision on the brand in many ways since joining the company more than 30 years ago.

The Newsweek World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors awards highlight the best and brightest in the auto industry across six categories. Albaisa received the award amid the Nissan NEXT transformation, a four-year global initiative that kicked off in 2020, promising 12 new models including the all-new Nissan Ariya, Frontier, Pathfinder, Rogue, Nissan Z and others.

“Disruption is the job description, so I take great honor in this formal recognition of doing what my team and I were born to do day in and day out” said Albaisa, senior vice president for Global Design for Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “It’s also incredibly humbling to receive acknowledgement alongside my incredibly talented industry peers for 34 years of wonderful collaborations at Nissan.”

Since joining Nissan in 1988, Albaisa has worked on many models and all brands under the Nissan Motor Corporation umbrella including Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun. His recent notable vehicle designs for U.S. market vehicles include the Z Proto concept, Ariya, Frontier, Pathfinder, Rogue and Sentra for Nissan Brand and Infiniti QX60, QX55 for Infiniti. Albaisa’s designs were also recently recognized in the Newsweek Auto Awards “Best Car Lineup” for 2021.

In addition to overseeing vehicle design, Albaisa also provides direction for the company’s logos, display spaces, dealerships and even building architecture.

Albaisa received this award at the Newsweek offices in Manhattan on the eve of the 2022 New York International Auto Show.

INFINITI Designer Albaisa Takes the Q60 to Cuba

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Dec 072016

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that Alfonso Albaisa, INFINITI executive design director, took an all-new INFINITI Q60 to Havana—the first United States-spec car registered in Cuba in 58 years—to trace his roots back to his parents’ birthplace. Now based in Japan, where he oversees all four INFINITI design studios across the world, Albaisa grew up in Miami. This was his first opportunity to visit Cuba and see the curves of the mid-century modern architecture of his great-uncle Max Borges-Recio, including the Tropicana, Club Nautico, as well as Borges Recio’s own home. In the process, Albaisa may have also found the origins of his own design DNA that is expressed in the unique flowing lines of current INFINITI vehicles.

Alfonso Albaisa, INFINITI executive design director.

LTR first met Albaisa, at the North American International Auto Show in 2012 in Detroit where he introduced the all-new Pathfinder as vice president, Nissan Design America. At the time, he had had a hand in the development of products like the Juke, Altima, Maxima, and Rogue. In Detroit, the new Pathfinder didn’t receive any drama (it was billed a concept), which belied the revolutionary redesign of the all-new model. Gone was its truck-like look as well as construction. The Pathfinder (recently redesigned again in 2017) was now a unibody constructed SUV but Albaisa and the Nissan PR folks declined to declare it a crossover, but rather, a “next generation SUV.”

According to Albaisa, the switch to a unibody, and the accompanying rounded exterior, came from customer input. “They want the utility but not the bouncy ride and poor fuel efficiency of a body on frame SUV,” he said at the time.

“We have a display at the design center with postage stamp-sized photos of each member and their country of origin. The feeling of diversity is really about the stories that we share,” he said.

The next year, he had been promoted to his current position at Infiniti. LTR caught up to him at the Nissan 360 event where he shared his vision for the future.

Rather than trying to keep up with European carmakers, he said Infiniti would focus on what it meant to be a premium brand. He embraced the brand’s sensual fluid lines and sculpted shapes that set it apart as a “seductive provocateur.” For inspiration, he unveiled a trilogy of exquisite concept cars named “essence, etherea, and EMERG-E.”