“Taking over from Wayne Cherry is an enormous responsibility but also a challenge I have willingly accepted”. Against the backdrop of the 2004 Detroit Show, Ed Welburn, General Motors’ new Design Vice President, paints Auto & Design a word- picture of his Group’s current situation.
“Here in Detroit we have unveiled new cars based on Kappa architecture. Barely two years ago the Solstice was merely a concept car. Today it is a production model and the herald of a new Pontiac design vocabulary. The same Kappa architecture appears on the Saturn Curve and the Chevrolet Nomad and the Curve in particular, shows how seriously we are committed to the Saturn brand”. The Nomad, though, is a remake of a Fifties model. “Well yes, but a distinct improvement on the original. And its basic concept, as a sport wagon built on a sports car chassis, is an intriguing one”.
Chevrolet has a star part at this show, what with the launch of the new Corvette.
“Any new Corvette is an exciting event and this time even more than usual because its sleek, taut shape is truly striking. And, of course, it harks back to the original Corvette Stingray”.
What about design developments in your other brands?
“The Cadillac designers know exactly where they’re going, having started with the Evoq concept car and the CTS Sedan. For GMC we’re aiming at a stronger brand identity, which is what sells our trucks. And our Hummer brand is still doing spectacularly well, with sales rising all the time”. We’ve seen lots of retro design at this show, which way is GM design going? “We’ll be doing a lot of innovative, strictly contemporary design. Even if we develop a design based on our own heritage we’ll be doing it in a contemporary key. With so many perfectly restored vintage GM cars around, why should we be making copies”?
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 145