General Motors Invests $71M in New California Advanced Design Center

General Motors Co. in Detroit announced today it will invest more than $71 million to establish a new 149,000-square-foot campus in Pasadena, Calif. The new facility will house the GM Advanced Design Center and will be closer to the automaker’s West Coast technology centers compared to its current North Hollywood location.
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A rendering of the new GM Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, Calif. // Courtesy of GM
A rendering of the new GM Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, Calif. // Courtesy of GM

General Motors Co. in Detroit announced today it will invest more than $71 million to establish a new 149,000-square-foot campus in Pasadena, Calif. The new facility will house the GM Advanced Design Center and will be closer to the automaker’s West Coast technology centers compared to its current North Hollywood location.

The new center will house advanced technology teams. It also positions the center close to leading universities and design schools, opening recruitment opportunities.

“Having a physical presence in Southern California’s technology epicenter is an integral part of our global design operations and this new innovation campus will not only expand our operations twofold but offers access to the rich cultural diversity and talent in the region,” says Michael Simcoe, vice president of global design at GM.

“Our positioning will allow us to attract dynamic candidates in fields that will bolster GM’s proven design capabilities and challenge conventional thinking of what our future portfolio of connected products and services can encompass.”

This announcement is part of GM Design’s global expansion plan, which includes the Design West facility, a 360,000-square-foot expansion being constructed at GM’s Technical Center in Warren. GM also is expanding its Advanced Design Center in Shanghai, China.

The advanced design team focuses on developing conceptual and future mobility projects that fall outside the scope of existing production vehicle programs. Recent examples of innovation and design work linked to GM’s broader growth strategy include:

  • BrightDrop – the newly established commercial delivery and logistics business, backed by GM – and its all-electric ecosystem of products, software, and services
  • Cadillac’s personal autonomous concept vehicle and vertical takeoff and landing aircraft
  • The lunar rover conceptdeveloped in partnership with Lockheed Martin

The design of the new facility in Pasadena was chosen to create a more efficient layout, mitigate disruption, and increase efficiency of the various paint, metal, and plastic workshops. It will feature an innovation lab for designing implementing, and validating new design tools, and a user experience/user interface design studio.

“The collaborative nature of this facility will provide our advanced design team, cross-functional groups, prospective employees, and external partners with the environment they need to continually redefine the boundaries of future mobility,” says Bryan Nesbitt, executive director, global advanced design and global architecture studios at GM.

Previous GM Design facilities in California include the Advanced Concept Studio in Newbury Park, from 1983–1996, and the current North Hollywood Studio, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020.

The current North Hollywood Design Center will continue to be utilized for advanced design operations as work on the new facility is completed through the second half of 2022.

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