Lotus Elise, Jaguar C-X75 Designer Moves to GM Ahead of Reboot in Europe
Get ready for some gorgeous new Chevrolets.
Renowned automotive designer Julian Thomson, whose work you already know well, has landed at General Motors. Thomson's penned some of the most iconic Jaguars, Lotuses, and VWs of all time, as well as Land Rover's most successful model.
Thomson's hiring was reported by Autocar, which says Thomson will take over a new GM Advanced Design Europe studio opening in the United Kingdom. Thomson's resume is impressive; he penned the Mk5 VW Golf, the series 1 Lotus Elise and Exige, Esprit S4, led the stylistic reboot of Jaguar, and founded the designs of its best-looking cars of the last decade or so—the C-X16 concept (which spawned the F-Type), C-X75 supercar, and I-Pace EV. On top of that, he designed the bestselling Land Rover Evoque.
Thomson has reportedly been working stealthily for GM since January, but only officially came on in July. He'll head a team of 35, which will influence GM projects around the globe, as well as have the power to suggest new ones. His studio's existence was advocated for by GM's Vice President of Global Design Mike Simcoe, who thinks the facility's European influence will be critical for entering new markets. That'll be especially valuable given GM's plans to reenter Europe with its current brands, having offloaded Opel and Vauxhall onto PSA (now Stellantis) in 2017.
Thomson enters GM with a high opinion of its recent work, specifically praising Cadillac's turnaround and the Koenigsegg-impressing Chevrolet Corvette C8, expressing a desire to own—or even design one. He's arriving at a possibly opportune time to do so, as while the C9 is still a long way off, it's something GM is likely planning. GM built its first mid-engined C8 mule "Blackjack" around the start of the C7's six-year production run in 2013 according to Wheels, a good six years before the C8's debut. The C8's already 2.5 years in, suggesting the C9 may already be somewhere in the pipeline.
There's no guarantee Thomson gets his hands on the Corvette at any point, but given his history, we can be confident that whatever he turns out will be worth looking forward to.
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