On Feb 19th, 2015 Yutaka Katayama the first president of Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A passed away at age 105.
“Yutaka Katayama (Mr. ‘K’) was a passionate ambassador for the Datsun and Nissan brands and our condolences go out to his family and friends. His more than 80 years in the car business included an induction into both the American and Japanese Automotive Hall of Fames. He was a pioneer on both sides of the Pacific, and we are grateful for his service to Nissan and his passion for our brands.”
In 1970, “Mr.K” was in charge of operations in the U.S. – many called him the father of the Datsun Z, Nissan’s world-class affordable sports car. In 1977, Katayama retired from Nissan.
Nissan Global Media Center granted a three-part interview with Katayama last September, during this interview he reflects on his experiences with his 80 years in the car business.
Mr. K’s journey in the car business started first in his 1935 in his hometown of Hamamatsu, Shizouka Prefecture – in the Administration Department, where he was responsible for handling publicity and advertising.
Katayama created one of the first colour films with a Datsun vehicle sported on Japanese roads, and later continued on with his passion filming motor sport races around the world – raising the bar for decades ahead of visual story telling.
Nissan’s initial brand name, Datsun was built by Mr. K inspired by his love for cars and flare for promotion.
As two Datsun 210s were entered in a grueling rally revolving the Australian continent, Katayama proudly managed the team leading them to a subsequent victory. This win catapulted the Datsun brand worldwide and set the stage for exports.
Retiring in 1977, Katayama was inducted into the American Automotive Hall of Fame in 1988 and was recognized for creating a generation of vehicles that redefined the automotive market in both America and Japan.
Among other key achievements, Katayama promoted the first All-Japan Motor Show in 1954, as well as laid the foundations for Nissan North America.