Interview: Valuing Venucia design with Taiji Toyota

Toyoda at Venucia 2019 lo res

Car Design News spoke to Taiji Toyota, deputy managing director of Nissan and Dongfeng’s Chinese joint venture, Venucia, about the brand’s evolution and increasing product independence

The plain tree-lined streets of Shanghai’s former French Concession may seem a strange place for a car design studio, yet here, hidden away on the top floor of a mixed retail and leisure development, big plans are afoot. At the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show a variety of new local brands by international players burst onto the scene – partly for political reasons and partly to tap into lower-tier markets which demanded cheaper cars.

The most successful today is Baojun, partly owned by General Motors. However, the only other one of these brands that remains significant is Venucia – created by Nissan with its JV partner Dongfeng. Starting out with a rebadged first-generation Nissan Tiida and Leaf, Venucia in the beginning largely worked with tried and trusted Nissan models. But today with sales of around 140,000 a year, Venucia is keen to break away from that past.

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