GM Design celebrates its 85th Anniversary

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 15, 2012

GM Design is celebrating its 85th anniversary this month and as part of that event, it will participate in the 25th annual Eyes On Design Automotive Design Exhibition on June 17. There are about 1,900 employees in all ten of GM’s global design centres. They are all looking forward to the future as they aim to attract consumers to vehicles and see them as art.

Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, said that its global team is passionate in designing vehicles that “make an emotional connection” with the customers. He said the role of the designer has not changed from 85 years ago. The goal is still to “create a beautifully executed exterior with great proportions to draw you in, and an interior environment that invites you into a relationship that develops and grows.”

Welburn is the sixth design head for GM but he is the first to take on worldwide design leadership responsibilities. Welburn will be the honorary chairman of another visionary group that will make the exhibit on June 17 possible.

The proceeds of the exhibition will support the efforts of Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology to find scientific breakthroughs to aid those whose vision loss is severe. Ed Welburn, the vice president of Global Design at General Motors, is largely credited for giving each of the eight global passenger car brands a form and vocabulary that could be easily distinguished from one another as well as when compared to the other brands in the market.

A design renaissance took place at Cadillac and Buick while Chevrolet has turned into a global brand with a globally recognized design language. The launch of new models has aided in GM’s revival as it competes with the Chevrolet Camaro sports car, Malibu midsize sedan and Cruze compact car; the Cadillac CTS Coupe, GMC Terrain, and the Buick Enclave and LaCrosse.

It took only three years for the much-awarded Chevrolet/Vauxhall Ampera Volt electric vehicle with extended range to go from concept to production. Volt was recognized as the North American Car of the Year while its European sibling, the Opel Ampera, also won as the European Car of the Year award.

The other highly commended global brands of GM are Holden in Australia and Wuling and Baojun in China. But Welburn states that the global design team has yet to do its best work. GM Design is leading a global product movement that will have about 70% of the car lineup replaced in the next three years.

Topics: gm, design

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