Yamaha Motor Co. has named Akihiro “Dezi” Nagaya as its new design general manager. Nagaya is usually not hard to miss during auto shows, where he typically stands next to the grooviest Toyota or Lexus concept car. He is credited with the design of the first- and third-generation Lexus LS, the second-generation Lexus GS and the second-generation Toyota Prius.
He is also usually prank about the pros and cons of a certain vehicle design, unlike other designers who are too sensitive with criticisms against their works. Nagaya was initially general manager of the Lexus brand planning department – responsible for creating the “L-Finesse” styling language – before becoming as chief designer for the global Toyota brand.
Moving forward to his latest stint, Nagaya was president of Tecno Art Research, a freelance design hub for outsourced Toyota projects. His role with Yamaha commenced July 1. He will be in charge of design for a company that builds motorcycles, boats and other mobility vehicles.
He is entering a company known for its progressive styling, which in some cases even out-designing its more iconic Italian and German rivals. Yamaha, until three years ago, had outsourced most of its projects to GK Design Group in Tokyo.
But Yamaha chief executive Hiroyuki Yanagi thought ahead, creating a strong design team that will be now headed by design veteran and expert Nagaya.