GM to build $71 million Calif. design campus in Pasadena to accelerate advanced technology goals

General Motors plans to build a $71 million advanced design and technology campus in Pasadena, Calif., that’s more than double the size of its 21-year-old studio in North Hollywood.

The automaker on Tuesday said the new eight-acre campus will enable expanded advanced technology teams to accelerate its zero-crashes, zero-emissions and zero-congestion goal. The site also is closer to West Coast technology centers and leading universities and design schools. It’s slated to open in the second half of next year.

“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,” Michael Simcoe, GM’s vice president of global design, said in a statement.

GM did not reveal how many designers it would hire at the new facility, but the automaker said it plans to significantly increase headcount from the 65 to 70 workers at the current California design studio.

The advanced design team primarily develops concept and future mobility products, rather than existing production vehicle programs. The team has worked on BrightDrop, the commercial delivery and logistics business that will launch the EV600 electric van later this year. The team also developed Cadillac’s personal autonomous concept vehicle and vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, as well as a lunar rover concept in partnership with Lockheed Martin.

GM said the campus will increase efficiency in paint, metal and plastic workshops, improve output of concept and show cars, and quickly pilot visualization and immersive technology such as augmented reality.

“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,” Bryan Nesbitt, GM’s executive director of global advanced design and global architecture studios, said in the statement.

GM has operated a California design studio for more than three decades. The Advanced Concept Studio in Newbury Park was open from 1983 to 1996. GM will continue to utilize its current North Hollywood Studio, which opened in 2000, as work on the new facility is completed.

Earlier this month, GM outlined plans to expand its Shanghai design studio for EVs and connected vehicles.

In March, the automaker said it would expand its design center in Warren, Mich., by 30 percent, with a new building planned for 2023.

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