LOS ANGELES -- Bryan Nesbitt became Buick's top designer in June after spending four years in China, most recently as the head of design for GM China. He's no stranger to the brand -- China is by far Buick's biggest market. Nesbitt has contributed work on several Buicks and also led design at Opel, which increasingly shares models with Buick.
Nesbitt, 46, talked to Staff Reporter Mike Colias at last month's auto show here.
Q: You've led design for many GM brands but never strayed far from Buick, it seems.
A: I was one of the key art directors on the original Enclave, which was kind of the original renaissance vehicle for Buick, especially for the U.S. market. Then I went to Europe and art directed the 2009 Insignia, also sold as the Buick Regal, and then the Astra after that, which is sold as the Excelle GT in China.
Talk about the design process for the new LaCrosse.
We made a lot of dimensional moves on our new platform. We lowered the occupant down about 30 millimeters, which allowed us to lower the roof. We lengthened the wheelbase. We wanted to do a theme that would meet that promise of that sportier persona and more dynamic experience.
The Avenir concept sedan serv-ed as inspiration for the grille?
That really foreshadowed where we were going. The real inspiration on the wing-shaped element was the Tri-Five Buicks -- Jay Leno's '55 Roadmaster has that. The '54 Buick Wildcat show car is where the designers first introduced it. With our signature lighting in the headlamps, we wanted more elements that would bring us horizontally around to the body side. In looking in the archives, sure enough, there it was in our own history.