Holden has appointed a new design director as part of a larger global reorganisation by parent company General Motors to strengthen the group’s international design language and advanced design capabilities.
Australian-born Andrew Smith, 43, will assume the lead design role at Holden on August 1. He replaces Tony Stolfo, who has left Holden after more than eight years as the brand’s design chief.
Smith joined Holden in 1992 and was responsible for the exterior design of the VU ute and Sandman and Utester concepts before being promoted to interior design manager for the VE Commodore and WM Statesman/Caprice program.
In 2005 he left Australia, eventually heading up Buick’s ‘Small Premium’ project and overseeing the brand’s vehicle platform development.
For the past two years, he has held the role of managing director of architecture and advanced design in South Korea, where he has been responsible for small- and mid-sized vehicle development as well as the 2011 Chevrolet Miray concept (pictured above).
Growing up as the son of a Holden dealer, Smith said he was looking forward to returning to Australia after seven years to lead the design team.
“I’m excited to be back in Australia leading such an experienced team at Holden,” Smith said. “I see my role as integral in driving global collaboration for future product development and ensuring Holden vehicles continue to evolve and meet the needs of our customers into the future,” Mr Smith said.
Smith will report to executive director GM international operations design Mike Simcoe as well as GM Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux.
On an international scale, GM vice president for global design Ed Welburn said the revised organisational structure and executive appointments throughout GM Global Design would align it more closely with the company’s brands across its 10 design centres around the world.
“This new structure provides a foundation to build and grow the design language for each of our brands moving forward,” Welburn said.
“It gives our design teams a greater opportunity to create products and brands that have an emotional connection with our customers and that continue to move our company forward.”
GM says the more brand-focused design organisation will drive a stronger and more common message across its portfolio, with the potential for greater parts sharing across brands.
The revised structure will increase the role of GM’s Advanced Design Centres, which are located in Australia, China, Germany, Korea and the US.
“Strengthening our Advanced Design organisation will allow us to help the company develop innovative new technologies and strategies to meet the future transportation needs of the global marketplace,” Welburn said.
“One thing is clear: success will require a variety of mobility solutions that are striking both in their execution and their efficiency.”