Yutaka Katayama “Father of the Datsun Z” Dead at 105
Yutaka Katayama, the previous president of what is now Nissan Motor Co.'s U.S. division, has died at age 105, the Associated Press reports. "Mr. K," as he was understood to firm insiders and Datsun and Nissan fans, created the Z line of sports cars that ensured the racing and sales success of the business in the U.S.
His first occupation was in marketing and he afterwards worked in marketing, creating new lifestyle-established ad campaigns in a age when, as Nissan sets it, most auto advertisements only "loud repeated the automobile's name over and over."
But it was a motorsports success that turned Mr. K's career down the trail toward the Z car. Two Datsun 210s won their class Around Australia Trial, a 10,000-mile rally across the Outback's unimproved roads. Mr. K was the racing team manager, and the class success spurred Nissan to start international exports.
In 1960, the organization sent Mr. K to Los Angeles, and he started assembling a U.S. dealer network from scratch. "In the beginning, Datsun dealers had no standing or stature, and they are not rich either," Mr. K said. For the big man, they're not only dealers but buddies. I am talking like I am a large guy, but I owe everything to dealers."
As Edmunds so eloquently described on the affair of Mr. K's 100th birthday, Katayama's dogged persistence pushed Datsun to the vanguard of foreign automobiles in the U.S. Mr. made Datsun the main Japanese brand in the United States, a touch of quality and innovation rather than inexpensive imitation."
Just how can we transpose the connection between horse and man to the one between automobile and guy? Even after I was sent to la in 1960 to create Nissan Motors in the U.S., this question never actually left me. Eventually I came up with all the style of the Z car. It turned out to be a sports car having a slick body using a very long nose as well as a short deck, designed to ensure it may be constructed using a few of the parts and components that have been already used in our other production cars, also it turned out to be an auto that anybody could drive simply and that might supply the motorist that unbelievable feeling of jubilation that comes when automobile and driver are as one.
Enable Nissan to describe Mr. K's part in creating the first true sports car of the firm:
Known affectionately as "Mr. K," he was convinced that the firm's new sports car layout will be a success in the U.S. There was only one issue-- the name of the vehicle: the Fairlady Z.
Mr. K re-christened the automobile as the 240Z for the U.S. marketplace, and his wisdom paid off: The Z car was a crazy success in motorsports and sales likewise, creating Datsun, and after Nissan, as a leading brand with a powerful enthusiast following.
Katayama stayed an auto man right through the finish, earning a position in the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1998, although he retired in 1977 from Nissan. "I had like to get a sports car such as the Miata," Mr. K said in 2009. "The Miata is taking the position of the 240Z .... The fun is just like riding a horse. We are in need of an automobile like riding on horseback, that's. Robots are being made by us. Robots do not enjoy human control."
In Nissan's own profile of the guy, he raised similar concerns in regards to the near future
A sports car does not need to be lavish. It needs to be affordable so that one can be owned by everyone, it ought to not be difficult to keep up, also it will be something you may love without being forced to spend an excessive amount of cash. To attach a cost of only looks not comfortable to me. You will get any price you would like in case you raise the amount and amount of gear and attributes. But it is still possible to experience great exhilaration when driving and should you not add any additional gear and attributes, then that is the most effective scenario in terms of I'm worried.
Nissan created a three-part documentary interview to commemorate the event.