At least according to GM's design chief.
Take a good look at a new vehicle. Any new vehicle. Specifically, take note of its wheel size. Now, pick an older vehicle that's at least a decade old. You might notice something; wheel sizes are getting bigger and bigger. Today, 18-inch wheels are often standard, but that wasn't the case not so long ago. So why are wheels increasing in size? Because they can make cars look pretty damn cool, plain and simple.
GM Authority, via the Brembo Red podcast, has picked up on some interesting quotes made by none other than GM's design chief, Michael Simcoe. The podcast is hosted by the President and CEO of Brembo North America, Dan Sandberg, a guy who definitely knows a thing or two about cool-looking wheel packages.
"Any designer you'll talk to will talk about how to make a vehicle look good and lower, longer, wider," Simcoe said. "And you add to that large-diameter wheel and tire. Where we are today, an 18-inch wheel is a small wheel. Simcoe also admitted the obvious: wheel sizes are getting bigger and bigger. "We're headed toward 24- and 26-inch wheels."
How could this affect overall wheel design, such as either open or closed designs? "The wheel style will be styled to suit the vehicle itself, so pretty much anything goes. Clearly, as we brand the vehicles, we style the wheels too," Simcoe added.
Another important styling and engineering advancement Simcoe and Brembo are currently developing are the brakes. Just look at how brake calipers have become so vital. Simcoe stated that brakes used to be "just a functional item," but have since become a core styling component. Brembo is currently GM's brake supplier for a number of new vehicles, including the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac CT4 and CT5 and Escalade, and the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL. The new Corvette, for example, rides on staggered wheels measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches at the rear. The Escalade rides on 20-inch wheels.