By on June 5, 2015

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Longtime General Motors designer Bryan Nesbitt is now Buick’s global design boss as part of the automaker’s shuffling of chief designers.

Nesbitt enters the role as he returns from a four-year stint heading design for both GM China and GM’s international operations division, Automotive News reports. He joined the automaker in 2001 following the introduction of one of his major hits, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, in 2000. Since then, he has led design teams involving the 2007 Saturn Aura, 2008 Buick Enclave, 2013 Cadillac ATS and 2014 Escalade.

Nesbitt replaces Buick and Cadillac global design chief Andrew Smith, who has held the roles since September 2013; Smith will continue on as Cadillac’s executive global designer. Meanwhile, Nesbitt will be replaced at GM China with Chevrolet’s truck design head Ken Parkinson, who shared the brand’s overall design duties with car design boss John Cafaro; Cafaro will now helm both halves.

The changes in design leadership were made to “emphasize” each of GM’s global brands, according to a representative, and took effect June 1.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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46 Comments on “GM Designer Bryan Nesbitt New Buick Global Design Boss...”


  • avatar
    carguy

    Judging by the amount of hair product, the open shirt and the glasses, he must be very creative.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Judging by the cars he has done, maybe not.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        The Aura, Cruiser and Enclave were all good in their day.
        The only one listed I don’t like is the Escalade.

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          I actually like the PT Cruiser, but none of the cars mentioned was really special. At least not good enough to warrant that haircut.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Fred,
            I agree with you, the PT Cruiser had a lot of potential. It was a pity it was put together poorly.

            I would like to see it made into a single cab retro, Model A looking utility coupe.

            Have it with wire spoke rims, tonneau, and it would only need the 2.4 litre engine.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I think this is dubious.

          “led design teams involving the 2007 Saturn Aura”

          What, take the Vauxhall Astra and put on a new bumper, and the grille from every other Saturn? There wasn’t much design done there.

          That’s kind of like, “Oh I held a very influential position at the lead of the design team on the Expresso trim level of the Plymouth Neon.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I *led* the Expresso design team for the Plymouth Neon and I co-directed the team who styled the Mercury Grand Marquis from that oh so plebeian Ford Crown Victoria.

            Somebody a little jelly?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            No, because I consulted for the Tuxedo Edition!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Pity you were too young to have worked on the Pucci edition Continentals. Bwhahaha.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Pure dignity!

            http://www.lincolnclub.eu/_upl/images/79mark_pucci_4a.jpg

            Would drive. Errryday.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The PT Cruiser didn’t age well but it was one of the first cars that I can recall that had huge excitement around it and dealers charging ridiculous ADM when it hit the market.

        You can credit it for kicking off the entire retro movement (good and bad) and designs of the Camaro, Mustang, HHR, SSR, Challenger (see good and bad) all owe a nod to the PT Cruiser and it’s sale success (I was never a fan, and always thought it looked like a hearse from the rear, but you can’t argue with the results)

        The Saturn Aura was the best looking of the Epsilon I cars both inside and out – and designed in an era of extreme bean counting. Conservative, yes, but it sure was handsome, especially in 3.6L V6 trim.

        If you look at his designs (sans the PT Cruiser) he is definitely more conservative – but I wouldn’t say he has a bad resume. I don’t see Aztek, SSR, Montana, Cobalt coupe, G6 GTP, or 06 – 10 Buick LaCrosse on his resume.

        EDIT: Upon further review, the story above was very kind to Nesbitt and didn’t call out his invovlement with the Cobalt coupe, G6 coupe, and HHR.

        He also did the Solstice and Sky – but ya – there is some serious “yikes” on his resume.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Nesbitt

      • 0 avatar
        redliner

        Remember, the car that comes off the production line is NEVER exactly what the designers and engineers wanted. It’s what the suits approved and the accountants allowed.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    A song to toast Nesbitt (and his style) in his new promotion:

    I walked along the avenue
    I never thought I’d meet a girl like you
    Meet a girl like you

    With auburn hair and tawny eyes
    The kind of eyes that hypnotize me through
    Hypnotize me through

    And I ran, I ran so far away
    I just ran, I ran all night and day
    I couldn’t get away

    A cloud appears above your head
    A beam of light comes shining down on you
    Shining down on you

    The cloud is moving nearer still
    Aurora Borealis comes in view
    Aurora comes in view

    And I ran, I ran so far away
    I just ran, I ran all night and day
    I couldn’t get away

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @DeadWeight,
      This Nesbitt guy must work in Caddy’s Manhattan office.

      He looks like a Andy Warhol/Kinks type of person.

      I’d be he drives a Volt and lives in Soho.

      Flock of Seagulls????

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Andy Warhol must be very big outside the United States, every single time I have ever heard him mentioned in my adult life was by someone living in Europe, Asia, and now AU. I can’t say I’ve heard his name used in the media or general conversation once in my daily life for at least 20 years.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Hummer,
          This doesn’t surpise me. I’m surprised you moved on from those “Golden Books” with stories like Farmer Junco and the fairy tales.

          I do realise people like you who live in the Ozarks, Blue Ridge Mountains, etc might not have access to arts cultural activities.

          Art isn’t just whittling a rocking chair or corn pipe and making moonshine.

          Maybe you should take a trip to Ashville or Wheeling to the “Big Smoke”.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Oh please, as nationalistic as you are, I find it hard to believe your well cultured. Also, I’ve mentioned I’m closer to Raleigh, not Asheville, which is a totally different area. Finally to use your little comparison, the Andy Warhol types “own” Asheville.

            There’s another little treasure chest you left in that comment I’ll let everyone else at.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I am from Pittsburgh PA and worked a job not far from Warhol’s childhood home of 3252 Dawson Street in Oakland. I’m here to tell you we, Pittsburghers, don’t really care about his art one way or another. I’m actually more intrigued to learn about his Byzantine Catholic faith, something which is somewhat unique to Pittsburgh.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Warhol

        • 0 avatar

          Hummer,
          Some paint company ad on TV is using a “look-a-like” in one of their ads.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @Hummer,
          Musee National d’Art Moderne is a place to look at some great Modern Art.

          It’s probably easier for you to remember Centre Pompidou. You’ll find Andy Warhol pictures/photos there, along with Picasso, Matisse, Derain, etc.

          The musee includes all form of Moder Art, fauvism, expressionism, cubism, abstract art, surrealism, etc. It would be an eye opener for your types.

          I also think the Museum of Modern Art in NYC would also have a massive collection of Andy Warhol works.

          Go to Paris, there are a massive number of fine museums to visit.

          It’s a multi-level complex, give yourself half a day to wander around.

          At the back of the museum is a quadrangle/plaze with some eateries/brasseries (not to confuse with a womens bodice) and souvenir shops.

          I’ll be there in a couple of weeks.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      You guys are right.

      Nesbitt is trying hard to rock the Zac Efron look:

      http://www.mens-hairstyle.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/New-Celebrity-Haircuts-2014-2015-10.jpg

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    When I look at his pic and the vehicles he designed, “heading design” must of occurred on his knees ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Lou_BC,
      Boy, I think GM screwed up with this banana.

      I can see why he worked in China, judging by the vehicles he had his fingers in…….or maybe GM think is the future?

  • avatar
    turf3

    Does the promotion come with a comb???

    You know, 40-somethings trying to look like 20-something hipsters just come across as pitiful. It’s the 2010s version of the bald fat guy with a ponytail.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    What does “Buick Global Design” do besides putting Buick grills and badges on the latest Opel and Daewoo designs?

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    Jesus, some posters are ripping apart Nesbitt’s personal appearance, and sadly displaying a lack of integrity. Consider these points: Here in eclectic Houston, most 40-something males don’t dress like Mr. Nesbitt for a day at the office. But, for a special showing or appearance…maybe some do. Remember, this guy has had globally-influenced career and living experiences, which likely differ from those of most people posting here. You can bet that he runs with a different social and professional crowd than most posters here as well.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If he fixes his Kim Jong Il-esque hairstyle he looks fine. However the fact HE thinks it looks acceptable tells me there’s a screw or two loose somewhere. Given general GM styling -outside of a few bright spots- went from meh to bad from 2010 to now, I expect Buick’s to get obnoxious sooner than later.

      http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jong-kim.jpg

    • 0 avatar

      Some designers dress stylishly, others, like Ian Collum, are comfortable appearing in a rumpled suit. J. Mays, when he was at Ford, changed his personal look every couple of years it seemed.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The “designer” part is what opens his personal appearance to criticism. If he was an engineer or a tire changer, people would simply think he looked weird and move on.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Don’t you think that this photo just shows him in a professional uniform geared to fit in with the Chinese cohort he’s recently spent 4 years among? He looked pretty average in photos before that; short, unspiked hair and a little chin patch.

        Or is this photo pre-China? Still, I’m sure his hair is just a calculated rapport-device.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      JLGOLDEN – it’s all in fun, well, unless you have hair like that ;)

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        It’s all in fun to me. I don’t care how he styles his hair in truth, as his skills in styling vehicles are his mission, and hopefully, passion.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          DeadWeight – agreed and as someone else pointed out, stylists are going to be constrained by bean counters. The same can be said for engineers.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The sad reality of what you say is proven inasmuch as the Cadillac Elmiraj or Ciel weren’t built, nor was the Lincoln Continental Concept as it was shown at the 2002 NAIAS (but it may be yet).

            Cadillac has the balls to put the Cadillac Ciel in the new Entourage movie, but passed on actually building it. Another sign of incompetence (we can style beautiful concept vehicles for Hollywood movies, but you can’t buy similarly styled Cadillacs in reality).

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      @JLGOLDEN: Interesting avatar of CD siren — Federal Signal Thunderbolt 1003 (?) by the looks of it.

      • 0 avatar
        JLGOLDEN

        Indeed my avatar is a FS Thunderbolt…the baddest assed outdoor warning siren EVER! I’m geeked every time I spot one in the wild. I’m still waiting to see my second favorite siren, an ACA Allertor, in person. I get goosebumps just thinking about either of these sirens.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Unfortunately, these things are being replaced by their spiritual successor, the FS 2001 (the white ones you see everywhere). They’re higher in pitch than the T-Bolt, and I think the T-bolt is dual-pitch, giving it that bad-a$$ sound!

          If I had storage space and capable electric setup, I’d purchase one of these (along with the proper control unit(s) at auction, and fire it off on New Year’s Eve for a minute (with just the chopper and no blower), as well as at full-song during inclement weather. (From what I’ve read, most governmental units don’t have a problem with somebody having one, as long as they are made aware of its existence, that the siren isn’t used outside permitted times, and that the neighbors approve.)

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      How does saying “I don’t like this guy’s haircut” display a “lack of integrity”?

      • 0 avatar
        JLGOLDEN

        Up to a certain threshold, there is humor in a few of the “let’s laugh at Nesbitt’s style” remarks. It’s a bold look for my traditional tastes, that’s for sure! I suspect what we are seeing is an expression of Nesbitt’s current business dress code. Anyhow, there’s a tipping point where I detect undue personal criticism of Nesbitt, based on hair and clothing. Beyond the tipping point, the integrity of the topic (c’mon, we are CAR GUYS!) gets muddied and redirected, especially when other commenters keep piling it on. With my mindset explained, perhaps there is clarity on how I placed one notion of integrity into my first post: “Jesus, some posters are ripping apart Nesbitt’s personal appearance, and sadly displaying a lack of integrity”.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    If Maximum Bob trusted him with the resurrected Malibu, why shouldn’t GM trust him with Buick?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    What is wrong with the looks of the Cobalt coupe, Sky, Solstice,and the G-6? There was nothing wrong with the looks of either only the cheapening of the materials. I wasn’t a big fan of the retro PT Cruiser but it sold well. The Saturn Aura was a nice looking car. Don’t blame the designer for the final product which has been produced with the bean counters and the suits having the final input.

    As for Buick at least they are appealing to a younger demographics. The Buick LaCross is not a bad looking car it just has small windows. The Enclave is a nice vehicle as well it is just a little pricey. Does it really matter that GM is using Opel platforms and tweaking the design for their cars? Opel has made some good vehicles in the past. Doesn’t Ford use their own European designs for the Fusion, Focus, and Fiesta? How about Chrysler with the Dart and the 200? The days of the US based manufacturers designing their own vehicles from the ground up is past with the exception of full size pickups. It is just too expensive and the US market although large is not the largest market when you compare it to Asia especially China. Most of us have to get use to the US not being Number 1 in everything. The twentieth century was America’s century and the twenty first century will become China’s.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do think if Nesbitt has read some of the comments in this article he’ll get a haircut.

    A crew cut? Boy, we are harsh, but it’s all tongue in cheek, Nesbitt.

    Never judge a book by it’s cover we are told. I know the feeling.

    Why have the cover on your “book” if you don’t like it?

    In all honesty judging by his haircut I view Nesbitt as bit of a ego centric person. Worried only about perception, that’s why he is a designer. Is his hair style for him? Or is it for the perception he wants others to view? I think the latter.

    Oh, I’m exceptionally opinionated.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Does a haircut and an open shirt determine how well a designer or anyone does their job? Nesbitt has a good track record and that alone should be enough.

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