Nissan’s ‘Father of the Z’ executive dies

Nissan’s ‘Father of the Z’ executive dies

The Japanese national and company executive who built the Datsun brand in the U.S. market and created the “Z’ brand has died at the age of 105 years in a Tokyo hospital from heart failure.

Former president of Nissan Motor Company USA, Yutaka Katayama was known as the “father of the Z” and he won international respect for the Datsun model at a time when Japan-made products were synonymous with slipshod quality according to the Associated Press (AP).

He also built the Datsun brand from scratch in the US market, stressing maintenance services, courting dealers and employees alike as well as making the first coloured films of the cars which was a marketing innovation at the time says AP.

Katayama was nicknamed “Mr K” by Z fan clubs around the world who revered him, and he was also inducted into the Automotive hall of fame in the U.S.A as well as Japan.

The Nissan website says that Katayama had a love of cars and a flare for promotion and claims that he did build the Datsun brand, Nissan’s initial brand name in the U.S from scratch.

Katayama retired from Nissan in 1977, and his son Mitsuo Katayama told AP his father had died of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital.

The younger Katayama says his father gave American Datsun dealers their own success story, which he thinks was his greatest achievement.

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