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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Auto designers set to ride the Nano wave

When Ratan Tata drove the ‘Made in India’ car, Nano, at the Auto Expo, the world applauded the Indian enterprise. Suddenly, global auto leaders are on hot trail for Indian designers who can sculpt automobiles to perfection.

If until now it was Pune-based automobile designer Dilip Chhabria whose castle on wheels have been driving home style and flamboyance, the advent of Nano has spurred the present breed of designers to take India to the world through their designs. Pinnen Ferina, Renault , Ford and General Motors among others are looking at Indian designers for their future models.

Finally, the world has woken to the paradigm shift in Indian automobile industry, says National Institute of Design’s principal designer (faculty of industrial design) Pradyumna Vyas.

“If IT ruled the roost in 1990s, this will be an era of automobile designers. With Indian designers thinking out of the box and daring to dream beyond the obvious, the good times for the sector have just set in,” he said.

Mr Vyas who worked with Tata Motor’s design team in Pune for ideation on the small car in mid-2000 even guided three NID students to create concept small cars in 2005.

Vyas told ET, “There is more to Nano than miniaturisation — it is a trend setter and a technological marvel. With automobile industry realising that sheer styling can put their product on the forefront, automobile designers have plethora of opportunities ahead of them.”

Nano has stamped its approval on the capability of Indian automobile designers. No one feels it more than Chennai-based Rajesh Mirajker who was the Tata Motors consultant in 2003 when the decision to go ahead with Nano was frozen by Ratan Tata.

Mr Mirajker is the proprietor of industrial designing firm Mirajker Design. He told said, “Tata has designed an Indian car for Indians. Importantly, it is even designed and styled by Indians and that is what is significant. Nano made ‘Made in India’ dream shape in a big way for the automobile sector.”

Mr Mirajker said designing a small car was a challenge as the team had to get the right mix of parameters — technical, marketing, manufacturing and homologation — to make ends meet, it proved the might of Indian designers.

“The ball has been set rolling. Indian designers must continue to churn out more revolutionary products,” he said. Further, with the likes of Pinnen Ferina, Renault, Ford and General Motors reaching out to Indian designers, there is no time to be lost for designers to join the automobile design revolution era, he said.

Experts say the car has opened up a new world of automobile design to Indian companies and professionals.

- The Economic Times
By: Shramana Ganguly Mehta, TNN
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