General Motors Design celebrated its 85th birthday in 2012. First established by GM chiefs as the 'Art and Colour Section' on June 23 1927, the division has been responsible for setting the design and styling tone of Chevrolets, Cadillacs, Buicks, Opels, Vauxhalls and many other brands for more than eight decades.
From a single office located in the GM Building on East Grand Boulevard, Detroit, the division is now made up of ten global centres and has 1900 staff. The centres are located in the United States, Germany, Korea, China, Australia, Brazil and India.
The division started under the guidance of Harley Earl, a custom coach builder from Hollywood. GM was the first major manufacturer to set up such a division. Earl himself is regarded as one of the pioneers of concept cars, and was also partly responsible for the industry practice of refreshing models each year. The charismatic design chief also ushered in the design of the Chevrolet Corvette and the vehicle tailfins of the 1950s.
Since Earl retired in 1958, GM Design has subsequently been led by five vice presidents: Bill Mitchell (1958-1977), Irving Rybicki (1977-1986), Charles Jordan (1986-1992), Wayne Cherry (1992-2003) and current boss Ed Welburn.