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ABCNEWS VideoSource
Final Design Review
Fianl design review for GM Shamus Tape Four 0158 Kate Driving 04:01:30 JD (mid shot over shoulders) So Kate, you literally come to parking lots like this one and study what people are doing with their cars? Kate: You know, typically I won't necessarily just go out and do it, but I always have to go somewhere. I'm an opportunist. If I'm out, I try to maximize being out and not just get my errand done but to look and observe. 04:01:53 JD So what are you looking for? What are you trying to spot? Well, mostly it's people and how they're using their cars or how they're living their lives. The parking lot is great though because people have either come from their cars or are on their way to them. Everyone I've seen, and right now it's impending rain so there might not be a lot of people, everyone has their key fob in their hand, if you notice that. 04:02:18 JD What does that tell you? Kate: Again, it's the situation that they're in. They know it's the next thing they have to do, so it's in their hand. The one lady, she had her cell phone at the same time, and she's trying to juggle her kids and everything else. But, it's almost like when you start seeing all of these devices and technology, in my opinion, right now you can do anything you want. The hard thing is saying, what should we do? 04:02:47 JD Here's a guy. Just an example and there might be nothing to it. A guy loading groceries into the back of his car. Do you pay attention to that? Kate: I do, and I can also say as a consumer and a vehicle driver myself, I for a long time was in the mode of once a day stopping to get a can of soup or a cantaloupe or something. So there it is in my trunk rolling around. If we as the designers can think of how people really use their vehicles, then how can I just make that one experience less irritating to someone. Maybe if it's not irritating right now, how can we make it a delight, make it a pleasure? In my business there's so many people that are natural gear heads and love driving for driving's sake. But I understand also that the majority of our buyers are very real people using their vehicle much more like it were an appliance where they may not love the experience that they have. They may not hate it, but if we can find some little delight or some way to make their everyday life better. 04:03:57 JD Can you pull something out of the real world and give me an example of what you might be thinking or what process you go through? Here's a lady loading groceries. 04:04:11 JD We see she's got a stroller in the back, and she's got it loaded with the groceries. She's got to get her raincoat on and get it out the back because it's going to start raining. What does that tell you? Kate: She's got a lot to manage. She's trying not to get wet, but she knows she's going to be outside for quite some time or else she wouldn't be putting her coat on because it's not cold. She's obviously looking at all of these clouds rolling in. I think she's probably going to struggle to have to put all of her groceries in the back seat. She's got a stroller, so she might have some car seats in back there and maybe can't do that. She might have to divide up different places for them to go. I doubt she'll switch the stroller to the rear seat just to accommodate the groceries. Again, people do what they have to. You don't know what their next step is or how she could have more flexibility with her car. It's a hard balance because what you don't want to do is make a place for everything because some days my drink holder is for drinks and some days it's for my cell phone. The more flexibility you can build in for people, the better it really is. A lot of our minivans will have the cup holder slash juice box holder because on any day you don't really know which one it is. There also were a few ladies that I noticed when we pulled in. I noticed that they have their key fob, but you know when you have your key fob it's relatively small. They have all these discount shopping cards. 0538 CU on key fob If you've ever been behind someone in line, you can see some have almost twenty of them. At least my mind automatically starts to think they're electronic based. They're scanning the code. Could you somehow combine it and get it all into your key fob? It would probably require some infrastructure at the store, at the retail level. 04:06:00 JD But those are the kinds of thoughts you get? Kate: It's like why, if it's digital and electronic, when you look at your music devices and your phone, how much power is packed in there. Why couldn't we go further and further? And that's exactly what we're exploring. Go further and say the parts that you have to have, why can't you maximize them? 04:06:17 JD So, for this lady loading groceries, your thought process might go to a more convenient place for her to put her groceries? Kate: Can we build in some flexibility for her because I bet you she won't use her car the same way tomorrow. I almost guarantee that. I'm not watching the clock, but it's taking her a good two or three minutes so far just to do the process. Then she has to get to someplace and undo it all. 04:06:46 JD So you see a problem there that is worth solving? Kate: It's an opportunity. I'm sure she's okay with it, but boy, if we could help her do it in half the time. Somebody like her might do this so often that she might be willing to pay for a little system that would help her. If we approach our business intelligent, we might do something up front in the design process to say that this is for the majority of our customers, but we know our market and here's a feature we can plan to have available to them for purchase. 04:07:22 JD Have any of your observations, say any of your parking lot observations, led to the development of an innovation that's very specific? Kate: I can't say that any of mine specifically have. I haven't been in this business long enough. As I come into this job, my perspective changes, and I start to get sensitized to what the opportunities are. Given the longer lead times of our. From a pure results stand point, it's a little too early to say that, but what I have been pleased with is the dialogue that I can bring to the table to my peers who are designing the next sedan or pickup truck or minivans. It's good to be able to talk about customers in general. It helps focus them on who's really using the vehicles. The dialogue is very open, and on the whole, lots of interest in the customer's experience. Just how people really use their vehicles because it's an object meant to be used and not just seen. 04:08:23 JD Is there any surprising insights you've. I mean, is it surprising any of the insights you've had about how people use their vehicles? Kate: I've been surprised. I think for myself I know how I use my car. I've seen other people use it similarly. But then, I'll say wow, I never thought someone would have to do that. 04:08:46 JD like what? Kate: One of the things I'm very fascinated by, and there's nothing close by that I can demonstrate it with, I love going past construction sites and seeing the laptops and the clipboards and the notebooks, all the. I mean, this is literally their office. If we were in a pickup truck, the center console is really meant to aid a lot of the tools that people might be doing in a professional construction situation. But again, there's a danger in designing anything too specifically because you take out the flexibility. IN THE DOME WITH DAVE LYONS 04:09:34 JD (side mid shot of both) I'm actually quite interested to know how old you are. Dave: I'm 38. 04:09:41 JD And how long have you been involved in car design? DL: I went to school for it. There are colleges where you can actually learn it. 04:09:49 JD (mid two shot) So you did car design as a specific? DL: major, yeah. I majored in transportation design. There's a school here in Detroit, the College for Creative Studies. 04:09:57 JD How long have you been with General Motors? DL: I came right out of school. It's been 17 years. 04:10:03 JD So, 17 sounds like a long time, but 38 sounds quite young to have really the responsibility to design a car that could be. It's really a big deal. It could be on the road some day. DL: (mid shot of interviewee) It is a big deal. It's a lot of responsibility, but my job is other people's hobby. A lot of people have normal jobs, but in the margins of their paper they'll doodle cars because they have a real passion for it. The difference is that I get paid for it. 04:10:29 JD What do you think you bring to it? What do you have that makes you a designer? Man, I wish I could tell you. It starts off a passion for drawing. Some people go into the fine arts and crafts and things like that. There are other people who combine that with being thrilled with how things work. How does a toaster work? Why does a motorcycle look the way it does? All these things. Designers when they're kids will just take things apart to see how they work. 04:11:08 JD (mid two shot) Were you that kind of kid? DL: A little bit. I tended to draw things that didn't exist. I'd start off with dragons and lots of science fiction type things. Eventually, my father is a big car nut. We used to go up to the races in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Some of the GT cars race. Very thrilling. You see those. You smell them. You hear them drive by. You can't. I can remember when I stopped drawing space ships and started drawing cars. It was on one of those trips. It was thrilling. 04:11:46 JD So if you'd stayed with spaceships, you'd have really been ahead of the curve by now. DL: A lot of the people that I went to school with, a lot of people that graduate from industrial design will go into car design. But some of them will go into industrial light and magic and support the movie industry as well with that sort of stuff. It's the same skills. People that visualize Star Wars scenes are coming up with whole environments that don't exist. Here, our job is to come up with vehicles that don't exist. 04:12:15 JD You're based in Korea, South Korea obviously. Why Korea? What's there that isn't here? I'm talking about in terms of design. (mid shot of interviewee) DL: Right. Design, it's a wellspring for design. There's a lot of fashion trends start there, graphic design. The computer age has really taken hold, you can see it with website design animation, and video games and things like that. We, General Motors, have a relationship with (Jim-Buh?), which is a company in South Korea. We use them for product development for small cars. They have a real expertise in it. They know how to do them the right way, how to get them to the appropriate cost. They've been doing it for years. With that relationship, now we have that expertise too. What we've done here with these vehicles is said okay, free expression. What would you do for a small car for Chevrolet? 04:13:26 JD (mid two shot) You just said that to your shop of designers in Korea, Koreans you said? Go with it. DL: Part of what General Motors has brought to their process is in the past, you would have engineers, financial planning people will come up with the right size and cost of a car. You kind of hand it to design to dress it up. (mid shot of interviewee) Put a bow on it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Now we have the creative people are really engaged with working with the engineers up front. There are some programs we start working before anyone else does. We do a vision. You can price it or size it any way you want, but it's got to look like this. That's very influential in getting the organization energized around a new concept. They came to us and said they're ready to start designing new mini car architecture. We put together several ideas. (pan to each individual car) There's more of a traditional European hatchback, lots of flare, lots of drama. By the way, you could also take it into this direction, too, or this direction. Very different character. All basically using the same parts and pieces underneath. All the engineering would be the same on this, but very different characters and moods. You could, as far as I'm concerned, build all three and reach totally different customers. (mid shot of interviewee) So, that's kind of the thought process we went through. We wanted to get as diverse a set of vehicles, all still Chevrolet, all still basically using the mini car as the basis for building on. 04:15:12 JD (mid two shot) What makes these Chevrolets, aside from the medallion? What makes them Chevrolet-ish to you? DL: Well, Chevy is an awfully big brand. 04:15:25 JD So there's a lot of room? DL: A lot of room, a lot of band width here. The last thing we want to do is these cookie cutter cars where a small car is the same as a medium car is the same as a big car. The Russian dolls, we call it. Don't really want to do that. The vehicles that we do in South Korea, for example, some are sold in the US, some are sold in China, some in India, Europe, Australia, you name it. In some cases, we've designed some of these with certain markets in mind. (mid shot on interviewee) This one may be more Europe. This one may be more North America. It's a genre. (two shot) We may not build all three. We may choose to send this one to North America. It's a creative exercise. It doesn't necessarily mean that that's where it's going. 04:16:16 JD (mid shot follows them as walk towards vehicle) This one is actually a working automobile. You can open it up. Can I open it up?(mid shot over hood of vehicle) I think it has to be plugged in for the door to work. 04:16:27 JD But it'll drive. DL: Yeah, right. This is a real. 04:16:31 JD But there's only one in existence? DL: But it's sheet metal, too. Yes that's right. 04:16:34 JD So you actually go to the trouble of building, molding a single car? 04:16:37 DL: Yeah. Right. 04:16:39 JD (pan mid as they walk over to second car) This one is made out of? DL: Fiberglass. To be honest, when we decided to bring these together as concept vehicles, it really wasn't our plan. These were all production proposals. We were working with my boss, Ed Welburn, and we showed him all three in sketch form and clay model form. We were so excited, we were having a hard time choosing. He and I agreed we should take all three to a show and really show the creativity that the team in Korea is capable of. 04:17:14 JD (mid with two cars in shot) It's usual to take three of them? DL: It isn't Normally, a design studio wants to just show the finished final work and say this is it. Our message here is really the bandwidth of the Chevy brand and the creativity of the design studios that GM has around the world. 04:17:29 JD So what's literally under the hood of this fiberglass? Is it empty space? DL: Empty space. JD (wide shot standing back from vehicles) Because you couldn't tell by looking at the outside. It's pretty convincing. DL: To answer your Chevy question though, there are some cues that we are trying to get across the board for Chevrolet. (04:17:45 mid two shot) That includes this like, we have this dual point grill, (04:17:48 mid shot of car from front) an upper and a lower, and a body color that the bowtie rests on. (04:17:54 mid two shot) We have three different interpretations of that. This one is clearly sporty, a little bit more angular. This one is using some of the (04:18:05 mid shot of two cars) Chevy Suburban say form language but obviously on a much different scale. Then, this one over here is (04:18:10 wide shot from in front of third car) a flushed, hot rod sort of a character. (04:18:18 wide shot to include JD and interviewee) In fact, the whole vehicle here is designed to have a little hint of if you could buy a (04:18:25 mid two shot) customized car already from the factory. The roofs down a little bit. The belt line is up. (04:18:29 wide shot from front of car) It has a little hint of heritage but still really modern. 04:18:36 JD Great, you're going to take me to, what will we see on this panel? DL: (mid shot of them walking) You'll see a little bit of the creative process. Each one of these was designed by a different designer. 04:18:47 JD Individual one guy designer or team? DL: One guy or person, in some case a woman, in some cases a guy. This particular case, let me see if I can, there we go. (04:19:02 close up of screen) This is the lead designer, Ms. (Cho) (04:19:05 zoom out to two shot) These are some of her early sketches. She's playing around with the idea of using the facial, which is usually made out of plastic and have it be a different color and sweep up the sides not just for the bumper but sweep up. It's a very graphic design. We liked that and said it almost could be SUV-like. It's very tough and rugged functionally if you take the plastic and use it instead of metal. It can take a hit in the parking lot. (04:19:42 zoom onto screen) So she started working on some that were a little more truck-like. You can see here that this is the facial that comes all the way back here to the doors. One piece. Very indestructible. (04:19:52 zoom out to two shot) For a small car very inexpensive way to not actually have to tool up fenders. She developed that design a little bit further. You can see this is kind of the final sketch where we said we could make a model of that. So this is actually a photo of the scale model she's doctored it up with some lifestyle equipment. (04:20:17 zoom in on screen) Then we built a full size model. 04:20:21 JD (zoom out to two shot) You built that out of clay? DL: This is clay, yes. We still use clay. We'll use the computer to create the services, but we still like to cut it in clay to experience it full size. The virtual world is great, but we drive cars in the real world. It's always nice to have that validation. Then a fiberglass shell was made. In this case, this was actually the full size work and the fabrication all happened in Detroit. So when Ms. Cho came here this morning, it was the first time she saw the car complete ever. So it's kind of exciting. A big part of globalization is kind of letting go. 04:21:02 JD Is she here? DL: She is. JD (wide shot of cars) Can we just call her over? DL: She's secretly dreading this. (she walks over) 04:21:24 JD Hi. So this is your car? I just want to say congratulations. Cho Thank you very much. JD: Today is the first time that you saw it? Cho: This model? This model result. Final model. JD: It's okay, relax. 04:21:45 DL: This is the first time anybody saw it all put together. We've looked at them virtually. We've looked at them. JD It's a good day for you. Congratulations. DL: Ms. Cho's actually our manager in charge of all mini cars for GM. Even though this was her own personal expression, she has the greater responsibility of all mini cars. (walking back to screen) 04:22:27 (close up of screen) This is the final design. (zoom out to two shot) These images were made long before the car was complete. They are digitally rendered virtual cars. 04:22:38 JD On beaches? DL: On beaches. We can put it anywhere. (Ing Cho Kim?), the other designer that we have here from Korea. He was the lead designer on the Beat, our green car there. Again, here are some of his early sketches. You can see a little bit of the technical drawings underneath from engineering. Ing-Cho will come in here and say I want this beautiful little line to come through. This engineering may have had a little bit more of a square corner. They put that a little bit up. 04:23:11 JD But these tiny moves actually have a profound impact? DL: It has a big impact on the appearance and on the engineering. We get into a little bit of a scuffle with engineering sometimes. JD (zoom in on screen) Surely the engineers are your friends. 04:23:28 (mid two shot) DL: Well, deep down they're all car people, too. We'll argue about something like this on paper. Then we'll make a model and say, see why we want this? They'll come in and more often than not, unless we're breaking the laws of physics or some government law, and it looks good, okay we'll find a way. There's some creative tension there always. So we first work in scale model, again most of us screw up putting scale models together. Ing Cho gets paid to do this professionally. You can see here even in the scale model the idea that we have a single line that peels off the grill, creeps the edge of the headlight, the hood cut line, into the pillar and over the top. (04:24:16 two shot) This one is probably the wildest of the three design-wise. There's some dramatic lines with a lot of flare. It's good, but he's grounded it in several key lines, like this one I just described, that brings the whole car together into one statement. 04:24:33 JD (mid shot w/cars in background) Did you ask him to make changes to this, besides engineering, any radical changes to his design, or is it pretty close to what he wanted to do? DL: He and I probably have different opinions on that. There was some, generally, I come in. My job is to kind of take elements away and uncover the pure vehicle underneath. Very often, young designers will have so many great ideas, they want to get them all into one car. 04:25:04 JD Like you were when you were young? (two shot w/cars in background) DL: You bet. I'm still that way a little bit. In this case, when you have your designer views, what's the essence of this car? If you had to create a gesture with three lines to describe this car, what would they be because everything else then is noise. Take it off. My job is to simplify 04:25:26 JD What did you take off of this design, for example? DL: You can see, there are some different solutions on this line, how they come up. This is maybe a more complicated profile. Well, that's okay, but what's really important is the glass line that does this (04:25:46 close up of screen), this beautiful line that comes down to the edge of the headlight. But maybe it doesn't stop and change directions. Maybe it flows through a little bit more elegantly. 04:25:55 JD (two shot) If you make a design change like that on his design, is it still his design? DL: There is tension even within the design community where obviously for him this is his art work. For me, this is my responsibility to bring this into completion. There is always some tension there. It's part of the way we work. I do think he still considers this his car. He's very proud of it. I'm like the archeologist. I remove all the dirt and all the stuff and get just to the artifact that's important. That's how I see my role. 04:26:38 JD And it was done to you, I'm sure, when you were younger. DL: It is done to everybody at every level, in their own way. Probably the hardest part about being in industrial design, as opposed to other forms of art, whether you're a painter or a sculptor, these are really pure expressions of yourself. Maybe a gallery will pick you up or maybe it won't, but if you're starve, it's on your own terms. Here, these things have to be marketable. They have to be feasible. They have to be under a certain cost. Each one represents multi, multi-million dollar investments for a company. It's very tough for the artist to be able to work through that maze. In the end, the best designs out there are the ones that go through that process in the most pure form. Yeah, there's been some modifications along the process, as there always is. (04:27:37 mid shot with cars in background) We try to make sure that it's getting to the purity of the design. It's not removing what is so core to them. We'll have a conversation. What's really important to you on this car? This is what I really want to do. Okay, keep that. Simplify everything else. Those conversations always go better than, nahh. You've got nothing. (04:28:05 two shot with screen in background) You can see, this is some of the scale model development. Then we start making a model. These are some of the detail shots of the headlight. Again, these are virtual versions of the car. The car only arrived here, I believe, yesterday, so we don't have any shots of it really driving around. We don't have two cars. 04:28:41 JD Does your gut tell you that any of these are going to make it into full production? (mid shot of interviewee) DL: These were all designed with the intent to take to production. Now, we're probably not going to, even though if it were up to me, we would. We're in the process of evaluating which one of these we really want to take. 04:28:58 JD It would never be all three? DL: at this point, that's not our plan. I'd like to maybe get at leas two, one for sure.