While software often solves hardware, Tata Motors Head of Global Design Martin Uhlariksays that car designers have a comprehensive responsibility from styling to production.
With new cars becoming even more radical in their styling, what ends up on a customer’s front porch can be markedly different from what was first shown as the car’s designer’s styling intent.
This is because modern manufacturing processes with the help of software technology and simulation tools today allow even the most complex shapes to be produced, as they are also evaluated for their technological feasibility throughout the development process.
So, does this mean that in the race to market, the first version of the designer’s concept is softened at the altar of production?
According to Tata Motors head of global design, Martin Uhlarik, “it is the design team’s goal and responsibility to guide the design through its entire production process, and this includes a strong focus on cost, feasibility and technology.”
“At the end of the day, it’s the designer’s job to make that happen, working closely with engineers and suppliers. Everything is possible, but you need to sweat over the details,” he added in a recent interview Coach India.
Ularik hinted that while Tata Motors’ recently showcased Curvv concept is 90 percent manufacturable, the more exciting Avinya has 80-85 percent manufacturability.
“Designers have to take responsibility for designing, and while they have to create something with a wow factor – make the concept beautiful, attractive and desirable – at the same time the focus is on designing with a certain level of thinking in the sense that it has to be manufacturable.” — noted Uglarik.
Praising the Tata Motors design team for its solid track record of turning concepts into production-ready vehicles, Ularik cited the examples of the Nexon, Punch and Harrier, which seamlessly transitioned from radical-looking concepts to equally futuristic production-ready forms.
With growing consumer and industry awareness of climate change and the need to strive for carbon neutrality as a future goal, Ularyk said sustainability is not just a trend, but is actually the future. “We have global climate goals that become government legislation before eventually becoming corporate responsibility. For us at Tata Motors, sustainable development is a responsibility,” he noted.
“Although a concept vehicle is a free-thinking laboratory full of ideas, all these ideas must be transformed into some production-ready elements that must also be sustainable,” he added. Uglarik also took into account the fact that, as with the electrification of vehicles, sustainable materials will also be expensive initially, but will decrease in cost as they become more common.
“What we’re likely to see is companies offering sustainable materials as add-on packages that will be available at a higher price. There are people who are ready to pay for it,” signed Uhlarik pragmatically.
Martin Uhlarik: The designer’s job is to guide the concept through the production process
At a time when software often decides hardware, Tata Motors’ global design chief says car designers have an all-round responsibility, from styling to production.