Can design impact how the Tata Motors’ passenger cars fare in the market? The design team at Tata Motors Limited is doing everything to wipe out old memories and perception about the Tata car and set new reference points. We are already seeing results with the Tiago crossing 23,000 bookings in eight weeks, says Pratap Bose, head of design, Tata Motors.
Tata Motors on Monday announced the Impact Design language for its new generation passenger vehicles so that the design function becomes stronger and more influential in guiding the company’s future.
Tiago is the first product to be rolled out under the Impact design language. Customers are recognizing the effort and liking it, says Bose.
Design is now an integral part of the new product introduction process. Design will scale up to meet the two new cars a year promised by the company. The Kite, Hexa, Eagle and Nexon cars displayed during the Delhi Auto Expo are in different stages of development. These cars will change the customer response, he adds.
While the design team has been at work since 1994 but the design intensity has increased since 2008-09. The independent Pune Design Studio came up in 1994 with four designers. Studios in Turin Italy and Coventry, UK were added in 2006 and 2007 respectively. These studios now have 190 designers with talent sourced from across the globe and eight different nationalities working seamlessly across the three studios. The design time has been compressed from the earlier 60 months to 40 months at present, Bose added.
The Tiago design project was led by a studio in India, which has 85 designers with expertise in designing car exterior, interior colours, materials, textures and trims with extensive work on perceived quality and final production surface.
The strength of UK and Italy studios is the conceptual capability. These studios also give access to some of the best clay and digital modelers. The Turin Studio strength is in transforming digital data into real physical model or what is called ‘Customer Design Reference Model’.
This expertise has also been brought to the Pune Studio. This process is shared with JLR, which uses these processes.
Back to clay for car OEMs
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) world over tried going digital and using technology but have failed and have come back to clay models, says Pratap Bose, head of design, Tata Motors.
This helps in bringing out representative physical models to give senior management an ideal of what the final car would look like.
When Tata Motors were working on the Tiago, the clay modeling was done in UK as this expertise was not available in India. But now the Pune studio has added clay modelling capabilities.
However, there is a huge shortage of clay modelers in the country. At present there are about four clay modelers working at Tata Motors in India.
With the help of sculptor’s work on the model, it becomes easy to incorporate inputs for engineering, manufacturing and cost.