GM International Design Teams Support Award-Winning Concept Vehicles at North American International Auto Show
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GM International Design Teams Support Award-Winning Concept Vehicles at North American International Auto Show

GM International Design Teams Support Award-Winning Concept Vehicles at North American International Auto Show

BANGKOK, THAILAND - Design teams in General Motors International (GMI) contributed to two important GM concept vehicles revealed on January 12 at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, USA. The Chevrolet Bolt EV is an affordable long-range all-electric vehicle while the Buick Avenir represents a vision for a modern flagship sedan.

The Avenir was named Best Designed Concept Vehicle of NAIAS by the EyesOn Design Awards committee. Judges said Avenir was “something special that you could tell designers really liked doing…it represents presence, elegance, sportiness all rolled into one.”

Both concepts were designed and constructed at advanced design studios located in GMI, which includes nearly 100 markets in Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

“These concepts represent a fantastic collaboration among GM’s global designers and fabricators, who worked between studios in South Korea, Australia and the United States to develop the striking design statements,” said GMI Vice President of Design Michael Simcoe.

General Motors Design is the first and largest automotive OEM design organization, with a network of 10 design centers in seven countries worldwide. More than 2,500 men and women are responsible for the design development of GM concept and production vehicles globally. GM design centers are located in the United States, Germany, Brazil, China, Australia, South Korea and India.

In Thailand, Chevrolet builds and sells several models including Captiva, Trailblazer, Colorado, Cruze and Sonic.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt EV represents a true collaboration between GM’s global design studios in Korea and Australia. The vision originated in GM Korea’s advanced studio before GM Australia Design developed the concept and was responsible for the construction of the functional show car.

Sangyeon Cho, GM Korea’s Senior Design Manager said the inspiration behind the concept was to create an extremely functional battery electric car with innovative proportions.

“In short, we wanted this vehicle to be versatile, connected and simple,” Ms Cho said.

“It was designed to be practical yet stylish, with athletic surfacing and an open, spacious and lightweight interior. And now we see the final product, we believe that’s exactly what we have created.”

The Bolt EV concept melds the proportions and functionality of a compact crossover with Chevrolet’s electrification prowess established by the Volt and Spark EV.

Bolt EV features multiple operating modes to allow the driver to switch between weekday/commuting and weekend/highway profiles. The modes adjust accelerator pedal mapping, vehicle ride height and suspension tuning. The Bolt EV concept is also designed to support DC fast charging.

Buick Avenir

Designed in collaboration with GM North America and built at GM Australia’s advanced design studio, Avenir – French for “future” – leverages Buick’s unique styling legacy to explore a vision for a modern flagship sedan. It embraces Buick’s rich heritage of creating exquisite sculptures, precise in their design and beautifully proportioned.

“As a brand with one of the industry’s richest histories of design, Buick has a legacy that is recognized and revered around the world,” said GM Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn. “The designers in Australia understand the essence of Buick’s design language just as well as those in America. This fostered cohesive collaboration between teams, with seamless integration.”

Avenir’s classic rear-wheel-drive proportion and exterior design theme originated at GM’s Australian design studio, while the interior theme was penned in the United States.

“Time and distance are always factors in the design process, but the teams’ understanding of the project brief and the sculptural essence of Buick transcended the time zones,” Simcoe said.

“GM’s global design studios are very well connected and contribute to each other’s projects all the time. There is a tremendous understanding of the brand’s design language and passion for the future of this portfolio.”

Avenir’s signature sweep-spear body side motif and nod to the “boat-tail” styling of the 1971-73 Riviera are modern interpretations of classic Buick cues proposed by GM Australia Lead Exterior Designer Warrack Leach.

“When you receive a brief titled ‘Buick Flagship’ you immediately think of a vehicle with impressive road presence, a confident yet graceful stance, and emotive and progressive form language, but above all else, a beautiful automobile,” he said.

Construction of the concept took place at GM Australia’s fabrication studio. The team overcame the time zone challenge with precise communications and in-house craftsmanship.

Simcoe summarized: “Simply put, Avenir is a beautiful piece of sculpture, delivered on a premium proportion that acknowledges the Buick design heritage in a very progressive way. It has been a wonderful opportunity for all involved, and we are sure the result will take your breath away.”

Building Momentum

The reveal of the two concepts builds on the success of other recent design collaborations in GMI, including the Chevrolet Adra that was unveiled at the New Delhi Auto Show in February 2014.

Conceived, designed and developed by GM India, Adra was the first concept created by the General Motors Technical Centre-India (GMTC-I) specifically for the Indian market, clearly showcasing GM India’s creative design talent and strong understanding of the emerging market.

GM Australia Design supported the development of the program and was responsible for the construction and fabrication of the show car.

“It is programs such as these that ensure our design capabilities are recognized worldwide,” Simcoe said. “They are why we continue to build a strong reputation for being a design organization with incredible scope.”

Last year, the expanded GM Korea Design Center opened, strengthening the ability of the GMI region to take on global design projects and ensuring its place as a critical part of GM’s global design organization.