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Interview: GM Vice President for Global Design Ed Welburn
Auto World News
By: Jeff Jablansky
January 16 2015

The following is our full interview with General Motors' vice president for global design, Ed Welburn.

There is a lot on the GM stand surrounding Chevrolet, but you had a really exciting Buick yesterday. How much were you involved in the Avenir?
Quite a bit. It's a good question, but I'm always surprised by that question because I'm very involved in absolutely every project we have going on—every single one. I know just about every square inch of the body shape on them.

Holden seemed to take credit last night.
They should. They're one of our studios. We have studios around the world that are part of the whole network. The Holden studio—GM Australia—was responsible for developing the exterior design. The interior was developed in the Buick studio here in Michigan. Then we built the actual, running concept vehicle in Australia.

Why is it a Buick and not a Cadillac?
Why not? It's Buick: a grand brand, a premium brand. The vehicle, in a very big way, reflects the work going on in the Buick studio right now. There are several projects under development now, and this celebrates the form vocabulary, the materials, the finishes, the proportions of a number of cars we're developing right now.

It was unusual and exciting.
We kept it very quiet.

What about the Envision [SUV]? That seems much more toned down.
It's kind of perfectly placed between Enclave and Encore, from a size perspective. Both of those vehicles have done very well in this market.

This is a pretty big truck show this year. Do you see room in the future for differentiation between Canyon and Colorado?
There may be room for more, but should there be? What would be right for the market? What would our customers be looking for that would drive greater differentiation?

With gas prices as low as they are, do you wish there were a Hummer brand that could come back?
The Hummer brand is in the past, and I'm focused on the future. Hummer's not a part of our future.

Nothing like Escalade EXT? Do people still talk about that?
No, not really. The question is what we do with full-size Chevy and GMC trucks going forward.

*Full Article at Link
 

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Those questions sucked lol
 
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I LOVE that!
Okay! See what I mean! See what I mean!


Ed's a nice guy. But when you talk to someone in the auto industry, you can tell who is the stark raving lunatic car guy and who isn't. Where do you think Ed falls?

How would have Bill Mitchell or Harley Earl answered that?
 

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Yes, "Every square inch". LOL!
Ed gets up at like 4 am and gets to his room at GM Design where the entire wall is a TV monitor and he talks to all the studios around the world throughout the day reviewing all their work and live video conferencing with them. He knows every project literally to the square inch, no BS...

That's his job. He's not laying down the lines and curves himself, but discusses them every day, every change and evolution. And all the studios around the world can get in on the conferencing and can make comments on any other studio's work with criticism's and suggestions. It's a team effort.

;)
 

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Ed gets up at like 4 am and gets to his room at GM Design where the entire wall is a TV monitor and he talks to all the studios around the world throughout the day reviewing all their work and live video conferencing with them. He knows every project literally to the square inch, no BS...

That's his job. He's not laying down the lines and curves himself, but discusses them every day, every change and evolution. And all the studios around the world can get in on the conferencing and can make comments on any other studio's work with criticism's and suggestions. It's a team effort.

;)

I'm sure that he's very hard working....
 

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Okay! See what I mean! See what I mean!


Ed's a nice guy. But when you talk to someone in the auto industry, you can tell who is the stark raving lunatic car guy and who isn't. Where do you think Ed falls?

How would have Bill Mitchell or Harley Earl answered that?
Ed is a real car guy, but look at his age and the era he grew in; and what it took to be where he is now. He had to be very reserved and diplomatic in what he said.



;)
 

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Ed is a real car guy, but look at his age and the era he grew in; and what it took to be where he is now. He had to be very reserved and diplomatic in what he said.



;)

He could have said: "Buick is an iconic brand, blah, blah, blah. It has a rich history of blah, blah, blah. It has shown fantastic growth in the US and China due to blah, blah, blah. That's why we did a Buick."

That has nothing to do with diplomacy or how and when you grew up. That has to do with having gasoline in your veins and a passion you can't contain.
 

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Okay! See what I mean! See what I mean!


Ed's a nice guy. But when you talk to someone in the auto industry, you can tell who is the stark raving lunatic car guy and who isn't. Where do you think Ed falls?

How would have Bill Mitchell or Harley Earl answered that?
Oh for pity-sake. Why does everyone parse, dissect, and whine over every printed word when it comes to Mr. Welburn? I think he equited himself very well given the uniformed, somewhat amateur nature of the questions. GM design has been on the whole excellent under his management. Just because he doesn't sound like a High School Freshman and use words like "Awesome" all the time doesn't mean he doesn't love what he does.
 

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Oh for pity-sake. Why does everyone parse, dissect, and whine over every printed word when it comes to Mr. Welburn? I think he equited himself very well given the uniformed, somewhat amateur nature of the questions. GM design has been on the whole excellent under his management. Just because he doesn't sound like a High School Freshman and use words like "Awesome" all the time doesn't mean he doesn't love what he does.
Okay, I'll share one more story with you, and then I'll leave it alone.

When GM unveiled the ZL1 a few years ago, everyone was expecting it to be called the Z28. Immediately after the unveiling I got up on the stage with the journalists, the car and the GM folks including, Ed. The journos were shell shocked. I think I was the only one up there HAPPY(WOOHOO!!!!!!!!), that the Z/28 name was being reserved for something else and not a heat soak proned, supercharged, 4200 pound Camaro. Did I say WOOHOO! and that I was the only one up there thinking that?

So there we were, about 24" from Ed, and everyone is going "Ed, what happened to the Z/28"? And Ed responds, "Z/28? This is the most powerful Camaro in history, and you're asking me about the Z/28"?

Now, maybe he felt ambushed by the sentiment. But there were probably 10 other ways he could have addressed that question. I know I would have answered differently, and been able to do it off the top of my head. Because my passion bubbles over.

Okay, I'll leave it at that.
 

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Yes, "Every square inch". LOL!
Did "...of their glorious naked bodies!" get cut out of the transcript? Just wondering if Ed listens to Rush too much.

There is a lot on the GM stand surrounding Chevrolet, but you had a really exciting Buick yesterday. How much were you involved in the Avenir?
Quite a bit. It's a good question, but I'm always surprised by that question because I'm very involved in absolutely every project we have going on—every single one. I know just about every square inch of their glorious naked body shapes!


There, fixed.

Translation:
It's a good question (WTF? I'm the design chief. WTF do you think I do all day? Look at monitors or something?)
but I'm always surprised by that question (because every ninny and goop asks it of me ten times a day if they get an interview. What I meant was I was surprised...no, no I wasn't surprised. Never mind. What's for lunch?)

"You had a really exciting Buick yesterday." Huh? Is "Buick" a code word now?:eek: Never mind, I'd never go there!!
 
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Nothing like Escalade EXT? Do people still talk about that?
No, not really. The question is what we do with full-size Chevy and GMC trucks going forward.

How are you tackling that?
Very aggressively.
Probably a good idea, since you wimped out on the current ones.

Next Escalade better be killer, too. I wonder if they're replacing the SUVs with the trucks?
 

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Okay, I'll share one more story with you, and then I'll leave it alone.

When GM unveiled the ZL1 a few years ago, everyone was expecting it to be called the Z28. Immediately after the unveiling I got up on the stage with the journalists, the car and the GM folks including, Ed. The journos were shell shocked. I think I was the only one up there HAPPY(WOOHOO!!!!!!!!), that the Z/28 name was being reserved for something else and not a heat soak proned, supercharged, 4200 pound Camaro. Did I say WOOHOO! and that I was the only one up there thinking that?

So there we were, about 24" from Ed, and everyone is going "Ed, what happened to the Z/28"? And Ed responds, "Z/28? This is the most powerful Camaro in history, and you're asking about the Z/28"?

Now, maybe he felt ambushed by the sentiment. But there were probably 10 other ways he could have addressed that question. I know I would have answered differently, and been able to do it off the top of my head. Because my passion bubbles over.

Okay, I'll leave it at that.
Not everyone has to be a cowboy. Ever heard the term; "Quiet Achiever?"

Your passion for cars or otherwise does not depend upon your personality type. Some people who are reserved have the strongest passion and commitment, while others who talk the talk don't walk the walk...



;)
 
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