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A visit to the Tata Motors Design Studio Pune

A visit to the Tata Motors Design Studio Pune
Desirazu Venkat Desirazu Venkat Monday 20 June 2016, 18:16 PM

Facilities and People

Our journey began when we were directed to a conference room among four different models of the Tiago and were given a briefing on the art of car design by Pratap Bose, the head of design for Tata Motors.

This is one of the three facilities operated by the manufacturer with the other two being in Italy and the UK. It is also the largest of the three as it is directly connected to the plant where the cars are actually manufactured. He also introduced us to his global team of Tony Hunter, Graham Gest, Sandeep Karyakarte, Salil Kulkarni and Shilpa Bandyopadhyay all responsible for designing the Tiago.

IMpacted!

He spoke about Tata’s new IMPACT design philosophy seen on the Tiago hatchback. This comprises two major elements Immediate IMPACT at first sight and lasting IMPACT over time. Going ahead, it comprises two components exteriors - Exciting, EXpressive, EXtraordinary and interiors - INviting, INtelligent, INtouch.

A Tiago is conceived

However, the real deal began when he showed us the evolution of the Tiago. It began as an A-segment project and is now one of their best selling cars. Pratap said that for the car to succeed, Tata had to reach out to demographics like younger buyers as well as women; groups that had previously avoided Tata’s vehicles. Simply put by Pratap, ‘If you want a bigger share of the pie, then you have to make your products appeal to a wider audience’.

The first thing that we saw were the concept sketches for the Tiago. These were the initial designs and were a broad outline on which the concept cars were created. From them a more realistic version of the car was derived and then modelled in clay to the scale of 40 per cent.

This is one of the lengthier stages in the development process as it is from here that digital data is translated into computer renderings.  This information is crucial as it will be used to by OEMs and vendors with data based on which they can make checks for production feasibility.

Once the clay prototype has been finalised, a full scale exterior model is developed for an accurate representation of the car. This is hand built and showcased to select customers, dealers and OEM suppliers. From here changes are made and finally a full production ready model is built.

Quality control

Now getting a prototype ready is one thing but making it look and feel right is a whole different ball game and this is where quality control comes in. This is where the manufacturer spends a chunk of its budget to working on things like grain selection, evenness of shades as well as finding a balance between cost and quality.

The transition

After visiting all the sections of the design studio and speaking to those involved, I took a more proper look at the Kite 4. I found that a lot of the design had been carried over unchanged to the production model. It’s a bit lower and has some fancy surfaces. On the face of it the Tiago that we see on the roads today gets smaller wheels and a slightly different dashboard compared to the Kite 4.   

What next?

Tata had showcased a range of new cars at the 2016 Auto Expo and will launch all of them over the next one year. All of them have been designed by this team and across the three studios. If the Tiago is anything to go by then the next lot of cars to come should be even more exciting!

Photos:Santosh Nair and Venkat Desirazu

 

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