Nissan North America Inc. is closing its Detroit-area design studio, resulting in the elimination of less than 10 jobs, a company spokesman tells Ward’s.

“There are about 30 people there now, and most of them will be offered relocation,” Brian Brockman says of the Farmington Hills, MI-based staff.

The job reductions in Michigan are part of 110 cuts NNA announced late Tuesday.

The auto maker opened the $14 million Farmington Hills studio, which did a “lot of downstream, closer-to-production, truck-related design,” just four years ago as an addition to its main San Diego design studio, Brockman says.

Most of the design staff there has the option of moving to San Diego, which will handle more “early, exploratory” vehicle-design projects, he says.

The other 100 job cuts will come from Nissan’s U.S. sales and marketing staff. Four regional sales operations will be closing, including Nissan-brand offices in Herndon, VA, and Pleasanton, CA, and two Infiniti-brand offices in Aurora, IL, and Atlanta.

The auto maker will add satellite sales offices at the expense of regional sites, transitioning from 11 regional offices to seven with 23 satellite offices.

“That’s an effort to get more people interacting with the dealers,” Brockman says, who insists these actions have had been planned since last summer and are not occurring because of the global downturn in sales.

“This stuff was going into play before the market started tumbling downhill,” he says. “We’re really looking at what’s the smartest way to allocate our resources.”

Brockman says some remaining Nissan staff will be relocated to Nissan’s growing Infiniti business unit or its new light-commercial-vehicles group. The auto maker is planning to introduce LCVs in the U.S. next year.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com