Canadian native Michael Stapleton was thrilled to return home for the launch of the 2017 GMC Acadia mid-sized SUV at the Canadian International Auto Show. Born in St.Catharines and raised in London, Ontario, Michael Stapleton now calls Warren, Michigan his home where he is the GMC Interior Director of Design. In this position, Michael is responsible for the entire GMC interior product portfolio. Most recently GMC launched the Terrain MCM, Sierra MCM, Canyon Denali, and now the 2017 GMC Acadia.
The 45 year old father of two has done just about everything during his career at General Motors – from designing show cars, to interior and exterior design, and to a key assignment as the Vehicle Design Chief of GM PATAC, Shanghai, China. He now directs a team of five designers who collaborate on creating the interiors of all GMC vehicles sold globally.
"GMC is a premium brand who's owners desire high quality and understated luxury - not as bold as Cadillac so we focus on placing the right materials in the right places to be subtle, durable and refined" explained Stapleton. "We pay close attention to the fine details of fitment to give our GMC interiors functional luxury combined with smart utility while maintaining harmony and comfort."
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I sat with Michael in the 2017 GMC Acadia on CIAS media day and he showed me the continuity and balance with the interior design language - a strong centre stack/command centre putting all the pertinent infotainment and driver commands within easy reach. I was impressed with the use of premium soft touch materials and bright aluminum accents, the feeling of structure, refined luxury, comfort and harmony which are the design cues of GMC interiors and a key to the brands global success.
When asked which vehicle is his favourite that he's been involved in the design, Stapleton was stumped to narrow it down to one "It's like asking me to pick my favourite child, I love them all." Then Michael did lean towards the HD pick-up trucks and the new Acadia, which goes on sale this summer.
Michael holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the prestigious design school at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. Even though his career hasn't always been in the auto industry, he has remained in Michigan and his passion for automotive brought him back to his roots when GM hired him in 1999. Since then, he's never looked back.