During the initial 14-odd weekends of the Covid-19 lockdown, Pratap Bose, the vice-president of Global Design at Tata Motors, revived his interest in making 1:72 scale model aircraft from kits. “The lockdown has unlocked a craft that I have been passionate about for over 30 years. As one goes through life, higher education and jobs, the passion remains, but the time to pursue it somehow disappears,” he says. During the lockdown, both he and his design team were able to reflect on the future of mobility, he says in an interaction with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary. Excerpts:
Did the lockdown interrupt the design journey at Tata Motors?
We had launched our entire new range in February this year, and fortunately we were at a stage when we were thinking of next-generation products, and a lot that work can be done virtually/digitally. The clay model phase and the time near the actual product launch is when designers need more face-to-face interaction. We also have monthly design reviews with the top management, which continued by way of sharing with them films and video shoots of the products getting designed.
Is there a learning set from the lockdown?
We were able to take a pause and reflect; we got time to think about our future products. We thought how to make cars more appealing, more a part of people’s lives, especially now when people are shifting towards personal mobility. We thought, in terms of design, how to make a car feel more personal. We also worked on the customer safety initiative, called ‘Sanitised by Tata Motors’.
So the future Tata cars will be vastly different in terms of design…
It’s always the case, but now we think the customer (because a car for her is more about ownership, about passion of driving) will want higher levels of design expression. The birth of Impact 3.0, I must say, has happened during these difficult times.
How challenging/rewarding is it to work with the Tata Motors design team?
The sheer range of the work involved for a designer at Tata Motors is phenomenal. We do both CV and PV design; we have a single team for both. One day a designer could be working on an electric bus, and the other day it could a next generation car, so the excitement, challenge and variety, everything is there.
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