From Acura's NSX supercar to Nissan's monstrous heavy-duty Titan pickup - we take a look at some of the car industry's most impressive designs, led by women in the field. Illustrations by Natalie Leung
Michelle Christensen, Designer at Acura – The self-described "car geek" who has been interested in motors since an early age, says: "I know that car design is an obscure career choice but I was lucky my dad exposed me to the idea. Before he suggested it, I was waffling about becoming a fashion designer or working on a pit crew."
Michelle Christensen, Designer at Acura – After 10 years working on Acura exteriors, Christensen was the perfect choice to design the next generation Acura NSX.
Michelle Christensen, Designer at Acura – "The NSX is an iconic and timeless car, it's a beloved car by many enthusiasts, and so it was a very intense project for us, " she says. "We knew how important it was for Acura to bring back this vehicle and for it to be more aggressive, more bad ass, more extreme."
Diane Allen, Exterior Designer at Nissan – The 2016 Nissan Titan is a heavy-duty pick up truck built of pure gearhead muscle, designed to haul everything from boats to horse trailers - and it was designed by San Diego-based mother-of-two, Diane Allen.
Diane Allen, Exterior Designer at Nissan – Allen says of her industry: "It's scary. If you don't have the 'I'm going to fight my way through' kind of personality, you won't make it. You put your soul to the wall every time you put up a design sketch. You're naked to the world and it's a relentless fight to get your designs approved. I've fought for 10 years just to get a little respect - it hasn't been easy being a woman in this field but it's getting much better."
Diane Allen, Exterior Designer at Nissan – Allen was involved with designing the Armada truck, the Nissan Rogue and the first Infiniti M5. Recently she worked on the 2016 Nissan Titan. "I realized long ago that there's no designing for a man or a woman. You just design so it looks good to everyone."
Janis Ambrose Shard, Planning Manager at Toyota – During her seven years with Toyota, Janis Ambrose Shard has influenced the color line-up of the company's vehicles, the shading and palette of their exterior and the interior and the finer details of the seat materials.
Janis Ambrose Shard, Planning Manager at Toyota – She likes to use vibrant colors wherever possible: "Most buyers continue to choose silvers, whites and blacks. But we really do try to slip a crazy color in there for those who just want to express themselves."