GM Hires New Design Chief, but Don’t Expect Much Change

2010_Chevy_Camaro

A change will happen at General Motors on May 1. It’s a change that could potentially send GM down an entirely new path while creating an all-new look for the company and its vehicles around the globe.

More than likely, though, the change will happen without anybody taking notice.

On May 1, Mike Simcoe, an Australian with decades of automotive experience, will replace current GM VP of Design, Ed Welburn.

Oftentimes when a new design chief comes on board at a car company, there’s a big hullabaloo because he or she left a post at another prestigious automaker to take the reigns at the new place. The new designer provides auto writers with plenty of speculation and excitement about how the designer’s past might meld with his or her future, while the automaker that scored the hire touts an upcoming revolution in design.

GM didn’t do that.

Instead, General Motors has promoted a 33-year veteran who has ample experience in the world of GM design. Simcoe, while stationed overseas, has had a huge influence on GM design for many years and has even created two of the General’s most famous recent muscle car designs.

Simcoe’s work includes the Pontiac G8 GXP; according to Automotive News,

Retired GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says the G8’s lines and proportions are better than those of the BMW 7 Series.

That’s subjective, of course, but the short-lived G8 does have the classic, strong lines for which GM muscle cars have become known.

Simcoe can also take credit for the 2010 redesign and rebirth of the Camaro. That design has been lauded as a perfect execution of retro and modern design, while helping propel the Camaro to the top of the sales charts.

There are some duds in the portfolio too, including the rear end of the 1997 Buick Regal and a Holden concept that was basically a 4-door, all-wheel-drive El Camino. We shudder at the thought.

Simcoe’s hire isn’t a bad decision. In fact, it’s a good, safe decision by GM to keep momentum going and minimize any risk of unwanted change or outside influence.

What’s your favorite GM car design?

-tgriffith

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