The Holden Efijy concept that stirred emotions at the Sydney motor show in 2005 has been included among General Motors’ all-time classic automotive designs.
GM design executives see the Australian-designed Efijy as an extension of the much-talked-about “emotional connection” with customers.
The carmaker first talked of such a connection when it set up its global design department in June, 1927.
It hired Harley Earl, a custom coach-builder from Hollywood and the creator of the 1927 LaSalle, as its leader.
Earl’s brief was to “study the question of art and colour combinations in GM’s products.”
These days the vice-president of GM global design is Ed Welburn, the sixth person to have held the reins since its inception.
“What was true in 1927 is still true today: A designer’s role is to create a beautifully executed exterior with great proportions to draw you in, and an interior environment that invites you into a relationship that develops and grows,” he said.
GM says its design department is at the forefront of a global product “renaissance” that will see 70 per cent of its global portfolio replaced inside the next two years or so.
It is staffed these days by 1900 employees working in 10 centres around the world.
GM says Earl’s entry into the car design industry doomed rival Henry Ford’s motto – “the customer can have it any colour he wants as long as it is black”.
Among Earl’s many successes are the development of concept cars; the yearly model changeover; the vehicle tailfins of the 1950s; the travelling Motorama shows and the development of the iconic Corvette. Earl also is credited with hiring the industry’s first female designers.
GM has featured on its global press site a timeline of classics from across different eras and used the Efijy image ahead of other classic designs.
Its pillarless two-door design was penned by custom-car fan Richard Ferlazzo. The curvaceous body was based on Chevrolet Corvette underpinnings and featured a supercharged version of the Commodore’s 6-litre V8 with 480kW/775Nm.
After its 2005 debut, the Efijy concept – a hot-rod tribute to the 1953 FJ Holden – toured North America and the Middle East and won the prestigious North American concept car of the year award in 2007. ?It now sits at Holden’s Melbourne headquarters.