Nissan has appointed Satoru Tai vice-president of Nissan Design Europe (NDE), the company's new vehicle studio in Paddington, London.

In his new role, 44-year old Tai will head the design team in London, reporting directly to Shiro Nakamura, president of Nissan Design Europe and a senior vice president of Nissan Motor, who is based in Japan.

A graduate in production design from the University of Tsukuba, Satoru Tai joined Nissan in the design department in 1982 and has since held a number of positions in design and product planning, including a four-year assignment at Nissan Research and Development Inc. in the United States. In 1988, he undertook post-experience training in the transport design department of the Royal College of Art in London.

In 2000, Tai became the product chief designer in charge of the Micra/March and Cube models. Following its launch in Japan last year, the March (Japanese market Micra) became the highest selling Nissan model sold in Japan for the last 12 years.

The asymmetrically-designed Cube, which is sold exclusively in the Japanese market, has also enjoyed strong demand, recording sales of over 47,000 units since the start of this fiscal year in April.

NDE opened in January 2003 and is home to over 50 designers, modellers and support staff. The studio is designing the next generation of cars for Europe but will also be involved in global design projects as part of a network of six design studios worldwide.