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GM invests $71 million in new California design studio

The automaker is expected to open this 149,000-square-foot facility in Pasadena next year.

GM California Advanced Design Center - rendering
GM's new Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, California, should look a little something like this. 

On Tuesday, GM announced a significant investment to build a new Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, California. The Detroit-based automaker is splashing out more than $71 million on this nearly 149,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to open in the second half of 2022. That spend will increase GM's ability to design advanced vehicles and help it realize a future where there are zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

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

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


Aside from providing more breathing room and giving workers fresh tools to play with, moving the Advanced Design Center to its new location puts it closer to area universities and design schools. "Having a physical presence in Southern California's technology epicenter is an integral part of our global design operations," said Michael Simcoe, GM vice president of global design. This new campus will double the automaker's design operations in the region and should help it attract fresh talent.

GM's new Advanced Design Center is part of a broader 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 that fall outside traditional vehicle design. BrightDrop, the automaker's new logistics-focused division, the lunar rover concept and Cadillac's futuristic people-movers are a few of the projects to come out of advanced design studios.

GM's Advanced Design Center in North Hollywood will continue to be used until the new Pasadena facility is ready. Work should be completed next year. 

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