GM invests $71 million in a new California design studio

On Tuesday, GM announced a major investment to build a new Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, California. The Detroit-based automaker is spending more than $71 million on the nearly 149,000 square foot facility, which is expected to open in the second half of 2022. The spending will increase GM’s ability to design advanced vehicles and will help it achieve a future where there are no accidents, no emissions and no congestion.

This facility is moving from its current location in North Hollywood – where it has been for more than 20 years – to a new 8-acre campus. The larger site is expected to offer a more efficient layout, provide space for pilot visualization including augmented and virtual reality, it will have an on-site innovation lab to create and evaluate new design tools and will have an advanced user experience lab to help designers create new interfaces.

Recent concepts from Cadillac and BrightDrop, GM’s logistics-focused division, are some of the recent products from its advanced design studios.


In addition to providing more leeway and giving workers new tools to play with, moving the Advanced Design Center to its new location brings it closer to area universities and design schools. “Having a physical presence in the technology epicenter of Southern California is an integral part of our global design operations,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of global design for GM. This new campus will double the automaker’s design operations in the region and should help it attract new talent.

GM’s new Advanced Design Center is part of a larger investment in building future vehicles. The automaker is also expanding its studios in Warren, Michigan, and Shanghai, China. GM’s advanced design operations work on projects outside of traditional vehicle design. BrightDropthe automaker’s new division focused on logistics, the lunar rover concept and Cadillac futuristic movers are some of the projects from advanced design studios.

GM’s Advanced Design Center in North Hollywood will continue to be used until the new Pasadena facility is ready. The works should be finished next year.

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Joseph E. Golightly