General Motors Design A new golden age
In the 75 years of its existence, the General Motors Design Department, created in 1927 by the legendary Harley Earl, has only had five leaders. Edward Welburn, 54, became the sixth Vice-President, Design on October 1, 2003.
Ed Welburn now heads a unique global network of competence that is more motivated than ever to invent the (General Motors) automobile of tomorrow.
An audacious change of era
Cadillac stupefied Detroit in 1999, when it revealed the Evoq concept. Its “Art & Science” design with crisply tailored lines audaciously announced a new era. Since then, this design language has been consistently and successfully applied on five concept and four production cars. A milestone in Cadillac’s history, the Evoq also gave birth to the XLR production roadster.
The popularity of the 2000 Chevrolet SSR Concept – a rear-wheel drive, V8 powered pick-up with a roadsterlike power retractable hardtop – was so huge that GM decided to produce and market it. Designed entirely on the computer, it promised fun and tapped into the most emotional decades of Chevrolet heritage, as shown by its outrageously flared fenders.
What is more visionary?
The GM AUTOnomy is the most advanced concept ever. It combines, for the first time, the technologies of fuel cell and drive-by-wire, allowing a new, revolutionary automobile architecture. The skateboard chassis, containing all the technology necessary for the propulsion, is independent from the body.
Having a good idea is not enough. One must prove it. General Motors did just that with the Hy-Wire Concept, a completely functional and driveable prototype that featured the static concept and architecture presented by the AUTOnomy. In September 2002, only nine months after the AUTOnomy reveal, the GM Hy-Wire could drive for the first time!
This nice bad boy
As General Motors acquired Hummer’s name to dedicate it to a civilian activity, it created a first concept, the H2, which went into production in 2002. The designers added refinement, yet preserved the typical “bad boylook” expressing the capability of the brand.With the 4.44 m long H3T Concept unveiled last January, GM showed that this design language could also transfer to a smaller Hummer.
Easy to love
“Keep it simple, pure and beautiful and it will be easy to love”,was Bob Lutz’s brief to the designers as they started sketching the 2002 Pontiac Solstice Concept. They got the message. In January 2004, GM announced that the Solstice will hit production in 2005 on the new, global, rear-wheel drive sporty “Kappa” architecture.
The Kappa case
These cars all have the new rearwheel drive, compact and sporty Kappa architecture in common. It was developed for the Pontiac Solstice roadster (center), which will hit production in 2005. The Nomad (left) and the Curve coupe (right) are concept cars. They were created at the General Motors Advanced Design Studios based in the UK and in Sweden respectively.
“The Sixteen is a modern interpretation of everything that made Cadillac the standard of the world”, its creators said. The Sixteen is not nostalgic. It’s the sign that Cadillac is now ready to resume its luxury leadership position. This superlative, 5.67 m long concept car powered by a 1000 hp, 13.6 liter, V16 engine, could not state it more clearly.
The Cadillac spirit
The 1999 Evoq concept transformed Cadillac. After the Evoq, a collection of concepts, sedan, SUV, supercar and superlimousine, proved that the new“Art & Science” design language could reflect the essence of any Cadillac. Today, the production models, the CTS, SRX, XLR and soon the STS, adopted it. They’re sharp, elegant, high-tech, and refined. They embody the new Cadillac spirit.
The new, 6th generation Corvette is here. Its design doesn’t betray a mythical lineage: The C6 maybe more compact, but it’s obviously a “Vette”. The small block 6-liter V8 engine delivering 400 hp makes it the most powerful Corvette ever. The C6 expresses the passion of GM’s designers and engineers who created it.