Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2013
No matter the slump in the sales of automobiles during the current fiscal year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the overall vehicles sales are estimated to rise by 6-8 per cent in 2013-14. In yet another report that asserts that the automobile industry is expected to grow, the ‘Mega trends shaping the Indian passenger vehicle industry’ released earlier this year by Ernst and Young states that Indian auto industry is expected to be short of 3,00,000 skilled personnel by 2020 across functions, including R&D and manufacturing. Evidently then, the demand for automobile designers too is expected to rise.
Designing being one of the main facets of the automobile industry, a career in this field promises a satisfactory income. The job of a designer is to detail the appearance of automobiles. It also goes beyond just sketching the looks of the automobile – one has to take into account the weight of component materials, aerodynamics, ergonomics, human-machine interface, etc.
According to Nidhi Agarwal, designer, Honda Design Studio, Gurgaon, “Automobile designing is a culmination of art, engineering and ability to think ahead. To develop an automobile, it takes almost three years of effort, right from the concept stage to the production stage. Automobile designers have to design a product which is ahead of time. When they conceptualise the design, they must style the product keeping in mind the consumers’ expectations when the product will enter the market.” Detailing the prerequisite skill for an automobile designer, Qurratulain Kapasi, a Mumbai-based counsellor says, “A student, who wishes to pursue designing, requires superior drawing skills, designing and sculpting skills, excellent understanding of the concepts of physics and mathematics, basic writing and computer skills, and good communication skills since he/ she has to work in a team and present ideas.”
An automobile designer’s work domain goes beyond cars and bikes. The industry is diverse and gives designers a plethora of options to choose from. A designer could work with light motor vehicles such as motor cycles and scooters as well as heavy motor vehicles including trucks, buses and tempos. Public transportation also provides a vast array of work for qualified designers. Additionally, a designer could also work with yachts, automobile interiors and automobile parts.
A number of institutes offer courses at the master’s and bachelor’s level in automobile designing. Some of them include the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai; National Institute of design, Gandhi Nagar; MIT institute of design, Pune; University of Petroleum and Energy studies, Dehradun (indicative listing).
Detailing the advantages of a degree and diploma in automobile designing, Vipul Vinzuda, professor, National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar, which offers a postgraduate course on design says, “A degree/ diploma provides students more avenues to explore in their career. They may take up various roles in design studios in the form of exterior/ interior designers, design managers, design researchers, digital sculptures, design engineers, entrepreneurs, etc.” A typical coursework in design is crafted to teach students necessary skills and the know-how of automobile design industry. Vinzuda elaborates, “This involves teaching students the vehicle design process, transportation system design, emerging trends/ future studies, automotive form, design skills (automotive sketching, representation techniques, 3D computer aided styling), ergonomics and HMI-human machine interface.”
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