College for Creative Studies: Transportation Design


Robert Boniface

General Motors Design Center

Design Director, Advanced Design

Robert Boniface smiled proudly as thunderous applause welcomed the silver Camaro concept car during its unveiling at Detroit's 2006 North American International Auto Show. Redesigning an icon is never an easy task; his team had met the challenge.

"Initially, I wanted to become a car designer because I thought it would be a fun, interesting job," said Boniface.

"CCS taught me my role as a designer - not just how to sketch cars, but how to package an idea and understand the dynamic environment of the industry."

"Working on the concept for the new Camaro has been the high point of my 14-year career," said Boniface. "Initially we were told to pursue the project in secrecy. I'm delighted we can now share it with the world."

As design director, Boniface is responsible for overseeing 60 - 70 employees at GM's Warren studio. He often communicates with product planning and engineering teams and spends the remainder of his time interacting directly with the designers and managers.

The Camaro is only one of the many cars that Boniface has "touched" since he was hired at GM in January 2004.

"Nearly every vehicle - concept, pre-production and decoupled piece like the Camaro - comes through our department,"said Boniface. "We review their portfolios, checking for design enablers and opportunities to put something cool on the roads."

Prior to his current position, Boniface worked at DaimlerChrysler where he advanced to chief of advanced product design. He worked intimately on the design of the Jeep Liberty, Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler 300C during his 12 years with the company.