General Motors has expanded its design center in South Korea for $40 million to render it capable of accomplishing new tasks like full-scale modeling and 3-D printing. Ed Welburn, GM vice president for global design, said after an opening ceremony for the expanded center that the facility will allow its GM Korean unit to take on far more advanced design work.
The facility is located on GM Korea’s Bupyeong assembly site and engineering center in Incheon. The upgrade of the center is part of GM’s $7.3-billion expansion plan in South Korea over the next four years. The South Korea design center features a bigger virtual reality studio that enables simultaneous real-time design reviews with GM’s other 10 global design centers.
The center also now has facilities for full sewing and seat trimming and is now capable of finished interior and exterior modeling. The center also boasts of larger studio space and clay modeling mills, and a new outdoor viewing patio with three vehicle turntables. GM Korea was responsible for leading design of the Chevrolet Sonic, Spark and Cruze, as well as the Trax and Captiva crossovers.
The unit also serves as an engineering hub for electric vehicles. GM Korea will be tasked to design the carmaker’s next-generation EV. The design center, which employs 200 people, will be supporting exterior and interior styling, digital design and studio engineering for GM’s global vehicle programs.
GM Korea chief executive Sergio Rocha remarked that the expansion of the center is clear evidence of GM’s strong commitment to its South Korean operations.
He noted that everything in the center is state of the art, adding that “whatever is the latest, we did it here.” In 2013, GM Korea delivered 151,040 vehicles in its home country and exported over 1.8 million complete vehicles and vehicle kits to over 150 global markets.
"We view our design operations in Korea as a key component within our global network of Design Centers," said Ed Welburn, GM vice president, Global Design. "That is because great design is not only understood and appreciated in Korea - it is celebrated. Today's announcement will allow the Korean design team to continue to positively impact GM's future product portfolio around the world, and it will provide us the ability to attract and develop young Korean designers for many years to come." [source: GM]