Revving Up Nissan

The design of its new supercar inspires a collaboration revolution at the Japanese automaker

Peter Blakely / REDUX FOR TIME

Nissan GT-R sports car chief engineer and project planner Kazutoshi Mizuno, left, and chief designer Hiroshi Hasegawa, right, pose for their portrait in front of the Nissan GT-R sports car in Tokyo, Japan on February 15, 2008 .

Emerging from the driver's seat of a new Nissan GT-R at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall, CEO Carlos Ghosn flashed a wry grin and a custom-made Louis Vuitton suit. Ghosn's sharp look--a departure from his usual boardroom standard issue--suggested a calculated step up for Japan's No. 3 automaker. The GT-R--part luxury vehicle, part sports car--is Nissan's bid to compete head on with Ferrari and Porsche. For a company that has built its brand on the 3.6 million reliable midrange vehicles it produces every year, that is no small ambition. Think Ultraman meets Bond in a car designed for everyman--everyman who...

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