It has been announced that Julian Thomson, the former head of design at Jaguar Land Rover, has joined General Motors (GM). He will head up the company’s new European Advanced Design studio due to open in the UK at the end of the year.
Thomson stepped down from his position at Jaguar Land Rover at the end of May last year and up until this point his new position has been kept under wraps. Apparently, he has been working alongside GM since the start of the year.
Thomson will initially oversee 35 staff at the new studio located in the Midlands alongside all the key players. This is part of GM’s move to get back into the European car markets in a more significant way since it sold Vauxhall and Opel to Stellantis back in 2017. The studio will be sponsored by Mike Simcoe, GM’s vice-president of global design.
Simcoe believes that as the company moves towards its electric future, it needs to have a big presence in Europe where the electric vehicle (EV) is more established. This will not be an exclusively European venture, though, and Thomson will collaborate with the US, Korea and China to take a more global approach.
He will also work across GM’s various brands including Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet. The plan is to not just Europeanise the look either. It will be interesting to see the end results and how much of an influence its location in the Midlands and being within Europe has.
All of three of the GM brands mentioned have all announced new electric cars this year but they have a distinctive American look to them. These include Buick with its Wildcat EV concept, Cadillac with its CELESTIQ electric and Chevrolet with the new Blazer all-electric (SUV).
Thomson said: “Mike Simcoe has made it clear that he wants us involved in the whole global network of GM design. We will be a kind of think-tank, a contributor to everything that goes on inside the mothership.”