Recently, Welburn (66) sat down with Car and Driver to reflect on his storied, successful career with General Motors, getting quite candid as he discussed some highlights from his tenure there, and what he doesn’t like about some contemporary vehicle designs.
Of all the vehicle designs in which Mr. Welburn had a hand in recent memory, one that stands out for him as an example of a job well done is the Cadillac CTS coupe – and especially the high-performance “V” model. “That was a car no one asked for,” he told Car and Driver. “It was just someone in the studio had an idea and they brought it to me. I thought it was cool, said let’s pursue it, and the leaders of the company loved it… It went into production in a very different way, and it wasn’t the result of a lot of market research. That’s exciting.”
At the same time, there’s plenty satisfying about getting a more mainstream, consumer-driven product just right. “There are family cars where you put a lot of research into what the customers want and then, when you really nail it, that feels good,” Welburn said. “That’s the very latest Malibu.”
As for what he didn’t care for, Mr. Welburn admitted to Car and Driver that some Saturn models didn’t tickle his fancy. “There are those cars that have been on the road a while that you just wish were no longer around,” he said. “Saturn was a great learning experience, but some of the last Saturns really didn’t hit the mark. It was like the brand had lost its way.”
And what about bad designs from automakers other than General Motors? “There’s one that stands out, but I’m not going to tell you what that is. Vehicles where things don’t add up [are terrible]. There’s one designer in the front, a very different one on the rear, and another on the sides. It really doesn’t go together, and the nose looks like Darth Vader’s face.”
For the full Ed Welburn interview, check out the article on Car and Driver.