5 Questions with Mark Adams – Executive Director, Global Cadillac & Buick Design
A graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, Mark’s career started at Ford where he was responsible for the fifth generation Fiesta. He joined GM Europe in 2002 leading the team that designed the 2009 European Car Of The Year award winner Opel/Vauxhall Insignia.
I’ve known you since you were a student at the RCA, did you ever dream that you’d be heading up Cadillac design?
Never in a million years. Obviously when you’re a young, wet behind the ears designer all you want to do is design cars. Moving to the new job is a new challenge, taking on GM’s premium brands of Cadillac and Buick is an honor and I am really relishing it.
Can you recapture the flair that Cadillac once had as global premium/luxury brand?
Yes, because GM is hugely committed to Cadillac as a premium brand. We have super tough competition in that sector, globally, but that makes it only more exciting and I am really looking forward to recapturing the glory days.
And Buick, it’s hugely popular in China isn’t it?
I am looking forward to expanding the opportunities for Buick’s portfolio. I really think it has a chance to grow in China and recapture and redefine what it stands for in North America.
As a Brit do you see Cadillac differently than an American designer?
I think that’s one of the opportunities my appointment offers, a fresh perspective. I am not going trash the heritage, I want embrace it and take it in a brave new direction that brings the heritage with it. It needs to move forward and evolve and there are some great vehicles in Cadillac’s past which could have some relevance.
What do you see as the difference between American and European car design and what can you take to America and learn from America?
I think I take an attention to detail that’s inherent in European culture and European vehicle design, particularly when you work in Germany. There’s a certain pride in the quality and how cars are put together. The quality of American vehicles has improved dramatically, both perceived and visual quality, but that can go to another level and I hope that my strength is that attention to detail.
What can the US offer me? There’s always an optimism and a glass half full mentality to American culture. I’ve got a little bit of that in me and I hope that flourishes and we can take some risks, not be risk adverse and be provocative in the most appropriate way and not just for the sake of it.
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