A global approach to selling cars is one that brings with it a whole host of problems for the design department. Just ask General Motors design chief Ed Welburn.

GM has long been a worldwide brand, but only now in his ninth year in the job is Welburn succeeding in the seemingly straightforward task of getting all Chevrolet models to wear the same badge.


“We’ve only just got on top of the Chevrolet bow tie,” he told me in GM’s hometown of Detroit last week. “There were some countries that had their own design… There were different colours, shapes, sizes; uniting all the Chevrolets around the world with the same bowtie sounds simple, but it’s not easy.”

Chevrolet’s announcement in Detroit that it would be letting younger buyers influence its designs may end up giving Welburn one less thing to worry about, given he has to oversee the design of everything from Korean city cars to full-size American trucks in his job.

“I like it,” Welburn said on the new marketing/design strategy. “It’s not new to do this kind of research… what’s new and interesting is the dialogue we’re getting back. It’s richer and deeper.”