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Welburn ensured Design was King with CTS

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Studios duked it out in the design of the key car for Cadillac
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BY ALISA PRIDDLE, June 2007 | Link to Original Article @ Car & Driver


Much ado was made of the fact General Motors Corporation had two design studios competing on the design of the Chevy Camaro. Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of global design, was so pleased with the results of the exercise that he applied the same practice, and then some, to the development of the 2008 Cadillac CTS.

Four teams participated in a “spirited design competition” for the important entry-level Cadillac. The contenders included the Advanced Design Center in California; the main design center in Warren, Michigan; a second advanced team in a separate building in Warren; and the unmarked, nondescript yellow bunker in an undisclosed industrial park near Birmingham, U.K. This secret lair also designed Cadillac’s exotic Cien, Sixteen, and Imaj concepts.

Literally thousands of sketches were generated, Welburn says at an event organized by the automaker’s Affinity Group for Women in Pontiac, Michigan. From there, 20–25 scale models emerged from the various teams, and the process further winnowed to the creation of five full-size clay models. They were developed in the separate locations and sent to Warren for review.

Interior Design Equally Critical

Meanwhile, a similar exercise was going on in the interior design studios, Welburn says. Their mandate: take the cold interior of the first-generation CTS—with its strong, vertical, center stack; its hard, uninviting shapes; and its materials that were expensive but did not look it—and create a stylish, warmer environ with a richer look and feel courtesy of better materials, chrome accents, and better attention to detail. Moving the instrument panel forward about four inches and the center stack up about five inches also opened up the interior.

Cadillac has seen a resurgence in design since the debut of its Art & Science language in 1999, with edgy lines sharpening a brand that had lost its way. Concepts such as the Cadillac Evoq, Imaj, Vizon, and Cien have set a pace for a series of reenergized production models including the XLR, first-gen CTS, and SRX.

Further style refinement became evident with the Sixteen concept and now the second-generation CTS, which retains razor-hard edges but attempts to incorporate more sophistication with touches such as the front fender vent that also is on the Escalade and will be on all Cadillacs going forward. Welburn says he saw the competition tracing the vent when the new CTS was on display at this year’s Detroit auto show. The plastic appearance of the original CTS grille also has matured with the use of chrome and a layered look with light grays and charcoals. The egg-crate grille has been part of Cadillac’s heritage back to the ’40s and ’50s, he says.

Asked if Cadillac will deviate from vertical taillamps anytime in the future, Welburn smiles and says “not as long as I’m running GM design. Each brand must stand for something. Cadillac must be bold. Vertical taillamps are part of our best efforts at Cadillac.” The signature lamps will continue to evolve, he says with a suggestive smile.
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This design was very good, considering the competition is not letting up on designs no time soom. I even think it looks better than the new C-class. This CTS stands out with a stance of aggression and elegance, and thats what Cadillac needs as far as design. They should do this for every model in the line-up.This article makes me want to see the other sketches take the other design studios offered. I bet they where just as good!

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I love my current CTS, SRX and Escalade ESV that I own. My wife is excited to trade in her CTS for the new one as ours is an 05. I can tell everyone, the SRX with the new interior is top notch. This new CTS will just continue to raise the bar and allow Cadillac to grow and eventually be the world class leader that all auto's are compared by.

ROCK ON CADILLAC. :D

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When does the new 2008 CTS go on sale? I can't wait to see this on the road. Cadillac desperately needs a hot product to have in the show room right now...besides the Escalade line.

And while I wish we had gotten the Chinese SLS interior on the STS MCE - the 2008 refresh has really grown on me. I suspect the STS will see a bump in sales to go along with the solid new CTS.

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I want to see all the entries to make sure GM picked the right one. :P

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I want to see the other entries, too. Not that I'm at all disappointed with the final design, I think it is production A&S car yet. I'm rather disappointed that we won't see another STS with horizontal taillamps, though. Then again we may not see another STS in the future.

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I want to see all the entries to make sure GM picked the right one. :P

I want to see the other entries, too. Not that I'm at all disappointed with the final design, I think it is production A&S car yet. I'm rather disappointed that we won't see another STS with horizontal taillamps, though. Then again we may not see another STS in the future.

you will probably see them in many of the never vehicles coming out... possibly t he next G6 has a few ques that the not used cadillacs used

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Is this based on insider information or something that you're hoping for?

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