Among the many CCS alumni represented at NAIAS, Christopher Hilts, ’01 Transportation Design, is creative design lead for GM full-size pick-up trucks. Hilts served as interior design manager for the show-stopping Chevrolet Silverado, which was named 2014 truck/utility of the year by a panel of automotive journalists at the start of this year’s show.
“For the new Silverado, I think the attention to detail was key,” Hilts told automotive.com last year when asked about the truck’s source of inspiration. “Obviously function, getting all of the controls placed high and well within reach, that was all kind of the bare bones of the architecture for the truck. When it came down to a theme, I think the team really focused on craftsman-types of products, things that were made by hand.”
Senior vice president of product design at Chrysler and CCS Trustee, Ralph Gilles, ’92 Transportation Design, and Jeff Hammoud, ’04 Transportation Design, lead exterior designer for the highly anticipated Chrysler 200, revealed the completely reimagined 2015 model at the show. “We wanted to reinvent where the brand was going,” Hammoud said at the car’s debut in January. “One of my favorite aspects is definitely the silhouette of the car. It has a very coupe-like appearance that not only looks aerodynamic it actually is aerodynamic. It’s one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in the class.”
The FT-1 concept car may have been made famous by the video game Gran Turismo, but Kevin Hunter, ’82 Transportation Design, president of Toyota’s CALTY design research studio, introduced the car as “a symbol of Toyota’s design future…the ultimate world-class sports car,” and was meant to harken to the brand’s real-life racing roots.
The 2014 North American Car of the Year, the 2015 Corvette Stingray, had significant design involvement from Brett Golliff, '07 Product Design, Color and Trim lead at General Motors.
Ford Motor Company rolled out it's 50th anniversary iteration of the iconic Ford Mustang, which was designed by Joel Piaskowski, ’90 Transportation Design, director of exterior design for the Americas at Ford Motor Company. The retro-themed model honors a half-century of history while injecting the car with new technology and styling cues.
The Detroit Free Press awarded Robert Boniface, ’93 Transportation Design, director of exterior design at GM, a 2014 automotive leadership award for his creative mentorship of the design teams behind the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe—unveiled at NAIAS—as well as other high-profile vehicles. “My job is to see the talents on a team and help them realize their potential,” Boniface told the newspaper. “As a manager or director, it’s not your job to create clones of yourself.”