DETROIT -- Ed Welburn is the favorite to replace Wayne Cherry as head of design at General Motors, sources at GM and industry observers say.
But four other GM designers are candidates, as it appears the company will fill the position from within.
Welburn, 52, is GM's executive director of body-on-frame vehicles and Cherry's most senior assistant.
His tenure includes 20 years of experience in the Oldsmobile studio and as head designer of the Chevrolet SSR pickup roadster.
Besides Welburn, four GM designers are subjects of industry speculation: Bryan Nesbitt, executive director for unibody vehicles; Anne Asensio, executive director for advanced vehicles; Dave Rand, executive director for interiors, quality and brand character; and Martin Smith, head of design for Adam Opel AG.
"If I wanted to hazard a guess, I would say it's Ed," says Carl Olsen, a former director of style at Citroen and professor emeritus of auto design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.