The design manager for General Motor’s Australia Design, Frank Rudolph, is hoping the automaker will keep the Port Melbourne-based design facility open once the automaker ceases Australian manufacturing in 2017, according to Car Advice.
Rudolph spoke during the Cars of Tomorrow conference in Melbourne in regards to the design facility. He believes GM can’t afford to lose the Australian tech center as it has earned a widespread reputation for delivering high quality design work and the team’s cultural awareness and passion further boosts its importance to the company and its relevance globally.
The GM Australia Design center is one of nine GM design studios worldwide. It is only one of two of the automaker’s design studios which can fabricate and manufacture vehicles and currently has about 116 staff. Rudolph said GM Australia Design has gained experience and has moved into a mentoring role for other GM design centers in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Without production and (motor) shows in Australia we’ve transitioned to a global studio where we do global production, global shows but actually more interesting than that, we do advanced work and we have exchange of talent and mentoring,” Rudolph said. “This has been something strategically that we’ve been doing over the years and we like to think that we’re basically through the transition period already.”
Rudolph also said not being a part of North America, Asia or Europe combined with “the passion for cars that we’re all known for in Melbourne and all of Australia” results in “a good formula for the team and a design presence in Australia”.
“We’d like to think that that may keep ourselves in a position where they can’t afford to lose us,” Rudolph said.
In January, vice-president of GM Global Design, Ed Welburn, said the next-generation Commodore would be designed in Australia even though it will be imported from a different country, possibly China or the US.