As he worked his way through the ranks to chief designer and finally as executive director, Asia Pacific Design, Simcoe has made a name for himself as a leader in his profession.
It is this outstanding performance in a number of key roles that now sees him appointed to head office as executive director, design, body frame integral for General Motors, North America.
Under Simcoe’s direction, Holden Design moved through a period of change and achievement, during which the company attained design and product leadership of the Australian market and expanded its reach into export markets.
At the same time, with the increasing globalisation of automotive design within the GM organisation, Holden Design has earned recognition and acceptance as an innovative and genuinely creative international operation.
In his most recent position, Simcoe has led the design strategy and overseen day-to-day design operations at GM Daewoo.
In addition, he had functional responsibility for GM’s growing regional design operations including the PATAC design centre in Shanghai, China. At the same time he remained responsible for Holden’s design effort as part of his regional role.
As chief designer and subsequently design director, Michael Simcoe oversaw the genesis of the highly successful VT Commodore and WH Statesman/Caprice model ranges and subsequent VX and VY Commodore upgrades.
The Holden design team also generated the single platform ‘flexible architecture’ strategy that supported the development of the ground-breaking Monaro sports coupe concept, the Cross 8 all-wheel drive production prototype, upcoming cab chassis variants and the SSX sports hatch concept.
For Holden, this key strategy forms the basis of its push to become a competitive supplier of rear wheel drive passenger vehicles to global niche markets.
From 1990 through 1992 on assignment at General Motors North America design department, he worked in GM’s advanced and production studios and completed the Buick “Sceptre” showcar.
Taking over from Simcoe at home is Antony Stolfo, who will continue to lead the design team at Holden. Stolfo was appointed design director in January 2004. His current role assumes responsibility for the function and operation of Holden Design. He is also a member of the GM global design leadership group.
After graduating, Stolfo commenced his design career as a junior automotive designer at Nissan Motor Company, Melbourne. Over the following six years, he held a number of design positions, leading to a senior design role in the localisation of the Skyline, Pintara and ES Pulsar models.
In 1992, Stolfo was employed by Holden as a contract designer to work specifically on the new generation VT Commodore. Over the following two years, he assumed a full time senior role, taking responsibility for the design and execution of the interior of the highly successful VT Commodore.
Subsequently, he was appointed assistant chief designer, leading the creation of the VU Ute. In 1997, he was chief designer of the ‘V’ car platform where he assumed design responsibility for the VY and VZ Commodore, VE interior and other various projects.
Like Simcoe, Stolfo was a member of the successful team that developed the Holden ‘flexible architecture’ which led to the creation of a number of niche products.
Stolfo is looking forward to the challenges ahead and acknowledges the company is facing increased pressure to be innovative.
“Michael Simcoe, like most Australian manufacturers, is coming under increasing pressure to find innovative and creative ways to survive in today’s highly competitive market.
“Holden Design is playing a greater and more significant role in the strategic planning activities to ensure sustainability through competitive design.
“We need to think global. Our sustainability is based on our ability to design, engineer, and manufacture products that attract global markets.
“Hence, my role has changed somewhat in the past twelve months and is evolving into a global role with regional responsibilities.
“One of the biggest challenges facing Holden Design will be to retain the essence of what has made us successful and to carry those values over into our collaborative efforts as we work on a global scale. We must retain the culture and values that have made Australian designers uniquely successful and bring that influence to the world.”