The sleek wedge-shaped Nissan IDS Concept shown at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show hints at Nissan's thinking. Sometimes pegged as a preview of the next-generation Leaf EV, the IDS teases an interior that transforms between piloted and manual modes. In piloted mode, the car drives itself and the steering wheel folds away while the seats rotate inward like a living room. In manual mode, the driver is in control with both hands on the wheel.
As non-Japanese, Albaisa and Habib may steer Nissan away from the Japanese cultural influence Nakamura, 66, long championed.
Habib, a Canadian of Lebanese descent, will be based at Nissan's global design center in Atsugi, Japan, and report to Albaisa.
"Karim brings unique design skills that will accelerate Infiniti's progress toward the goal of ... expanding our share in the global luxury market," Infiniti President Roland Krueger, another BMW transplant, said in a statement.
At BMW, Habib was responsible for such production and concept cars as the X1, X2 Concept and CSL Homage. Before BMW, he was head of advanced design for Daimler and helped develop the current Mercedes-Benz C class.