General Motors, preparing for the retirement of design chief Wayne Cherry, 63, is trying to cultivate a replacement inside the company but also will look outside, said Ron Zarrella, president of GM North America.
Regardless of who takes over, the company will not change its design direction, Zarrella said.
Cherry, GM's vice president of design, says he plans to retire when he turns 65, in September 2002. 'Wayne has established a fundamental understanding of design character that is consistent with brand character, and we don't want to move away from that,' Zarrella said.
For example, Buick will continue to seek designs for premium family vehicles. Cadillac, while being a technological showcase, will continue the pattern set by the Evoq, Imaj and Vizon concept vehicles.
GM has hired many designers in their 20s and 30s from other automakers, Zarrella said.
'We've got quite a bit of design diversity within the company right now,' Zarrella said. 'The question is, can someone step up and lead what is the world's largest design organization?'
If not, GM could go with someone from the outside.
'When any of these big jobs open up, we always look outside,' Zarrella said.
'You don't always go outside, but you kind of want to peek under the blanket and see what's out there.'