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Old 4th May 2011, 14:05   #1
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Exclamation Will India become a design hub in the future?

I was strolling through the interwebs and I found that there seems to be an underground explosion as far as Indian automotive design. While NID has been established, we have Dilip Chhabria's school and another called DSK Infocom outside Pune. There are also plenty of industrial design schools coming up like Raffles.

All this begs the question of whether India will become a design hub in the same way Korea has become a hub of sorts of the international automotive scene.

I think that India has already proven herself in the field of IT and component business. So its only logical that R&D would be the next step. GM and Hyundai have already established themselves here.

Of course all of this wont happen in the next days. We may have wait for at least 10 more years but I think that the writing in on the wall.

What do you guys think?
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Old 4th May 2011, 14:15   #2
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

Never because we don't have the sense and sensibilities for making or appreciating good looking things. DC design are absolutely horrendous, the weird and wacky thread absolutely blows subtlety and design out in the weeds, we buy Dzire's by truck loads and think i20 is the bestest looking hatchback.
In one word NO
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Old 4th May 2011, 14:34   #3
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

Good day,
I strongly believe that India will become a car design hub within 5 years.The categories many Indians love to have does not arrive here untill unless we
have our own designs. Competitive designs demand every company to follow. so if someone starts, all will follow.
BTW, I would love to sponser for a design of an suv with breath taking road presence , 160-180 bhp, 20-22 Lakhs price tag, fuel efficiency 12-14 kph, Japanese engine,low maintenance cost.
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Old 4th May 2011, 16:29   #4
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

I would not think so! The reasons are mostly traceable to our genes rather than anything else:
- We excel at copying and modifying rather than creating.
- Our education system gears individuals to understand and improve upon established lines of thinking, rather than dreaming up new things.

Coming to your reference to IT and components, here's my two cents:
- We have hardly ever seen a quality product arise from R&D labs in India.
- Some of the commercially successful products that we have, to showcase, fail to be scaleable (e.g. Finacle).

I can go on and on, but won't, since it feels kinda bad!
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Old 4th May 2011, 16:41   #5
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

India can become a design hub. If manufacturing and components can be shifted to India, then design certainly can. It is just a question when Automotive majors establish their R&D centres here.

In the initial stages, the centres might certainly be manned by designers of non-Indian origin. But, there must certainly be enough talented designers of Indian origin working abroad. Many of them will jump at the opportunity to work here if world class facilities are established. And, there is enough local talent who can excel if proper guidance is given.

That does not necessarily mean that, we would be getting better cars here. The design centres might mostly cater to European or even American markets. Slight modifications might be sufficient to keep the general Indian customer (read non-BHPian) happy.
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Old 4th May 2011, 18:48   #6
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

From what my friends working in Maruti-Suzuki have told me, MS is in the process of building a huge R&D facility in India; in Rohtak (IIRC).

They plan to have future cars from the MS stable to come from this facility; right from conceptualization to design to execution.

Hero Honda (or Honda now) is planning something similar too (I guess in Haridwar).

No doubt India has immense R&D capability, guess it would be cost effective and help in India-specific products.
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Old 4th May 2011, 19:00   #7
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

@Crazycardude

I have a slightly different opinion. India will definitely develop the skillset. However the exposure(as in the experience) to apply the design skill to develop cutting-edge design specs and prototypes will take quite a lot of time. i.e. if and when the Indian Industry start designing cars for local and export market from here regularly. I know that Scorpio and Eeco were designed and developed locally however almost all the other "significant" cars are designed overseas.

IMO starting schools and R&D centers is a very good start. How else we could create designers? But it will take a while for us to make an impact.

My point is that we have reasons to be optimistic. But we should be pragmatic.
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Old 4th May 2011, 20:40   #8
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

I presently work in one of the design centres and its my personal opinion that slowly Indians will grow up in the value chain.But at the same time we should not forget that progress is being done by US and other European and Japanese companies. I feel we might not be as good as the above but yes we would be able to design vehicles acceptable throughout the world at least in the entry level segments. I feel there is good potential for growth in this field.
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Old 4th May 2011, 20:41   #9
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

What I believe is that there are a few things working in India's favour.

1) India is still a cost effective location.

2) Growth of the auto-industry in India as well as asian markets

3)Huge potential talent in youth of today.

Having said that there are some major things against us as well

1) Very bad infrastructure

2) Lack of awareness of automotive design as a career choice.

3) Handful of institutions training designers.

4) Local companies outsource design to other reputable design houses

5) Government is not concerned about design education.

I should point out though that all of these negative points are changing dynamically. I believe in being cautious but in my firm opinion the writing is on the wall and cannot be denied any longer.
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Old 4th May 2011, 20:45   #10
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
From what my friends working in Maruti-Suzuki have told me, MS is in the process of building a huge R&D facility in India; in Rohtak (IIRC).

They plan to have future cars from the MS stable to come from this facility; right from conceptualization to design to execution.

Hero Honda (or Honda now) is planning something similar too (I guess in Haridwar).

No doubt India has immense R&D capability, guess it would be cost effective and help in India-specific products.
Ah that is very interesting! Are you referring to the minivan concept that Maruti introduced recently at the auto-expo? I do recall the A-Star was designed and built here. If Maruti invest in conceptualization to delivery of product then I am absolutely certain that other companies will follow. I think that the consensus is that Indian designers are so rare that they have not been "proven" yet.
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Old 4th May 2011, 20:48   #11
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
I presently work in one of the design centres and its my personal opinion that slowly Indians will grow up in the value chain.But at the same time we should not forget that progress is being done by US and other European and Japanese companies. I feel we might not be as good as the above but yes we would be able to design vehicles acceptable throughout the world at least in the entry level segments. I feel there is good potential for growth in this field.
Would it be possible for you to divulge where you work and any projects that you have been involved? I understand that this may be forbidden for you to discuss so its alright if you cant say.I am just curious
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Old 4th May 2011, 21:36   #12
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

For info- The bulk of Automotive CAD Engineers for Japan (Nissan, Toyota), GM are recruited for India. I am also told by my peers that many designs for these MNC's are Modeled , Drafted in places like Pune, Bangalore, Gurgaon (majority). The CAD data is then sent back to the company. Does this mean anything?

Spike
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Old 4th May 2011, 22:13   #13
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

I agree with everyone who voted NO. As much as I would love it if India becomes a hub for automotive design, I don't see it possible, not in the near future anyway. Few very basic reasons:-

As mentioned earlier in the thread, we don't appreciate good design per say. We lack the instinct to try new creative things, especially when money is involved to such huge extent. We are happy copying. We can form institutions, but we don't appreciate the art as such (in comparison with the other developed countries).
Also, most importantly, in my view, we lack the zeal to provide impeccable quality. How many of our engineers do follow the precision in its true sense, especially manufacturing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
For info- The bulk of Automotive CAD Engineers for Japan (Nissan, Toyota), GM are recruited for India. I am also told by my peers that many designs for these MNC's are Modeled , Drafted in places like Pune, Bangalore, Gurgaon (majority). The CAD data is then sent back to the company. Does this mean anything?

Spike
Spike, no this doesn't mean we can be good designers. What so called CAD engineers do is take the design, and make detailed engineering drawing that gets supplied to the manufacturing. There is no creative design involved in this work. I ll give you an analogy: Its similar to copy write work. We can translate articles, we can type them in MS Word, but who comes up with the idea and content? Sadly, not us!
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Old 5th May 2011, 07:45   #14
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

This is my take on this topic:

Do we have the capabilities and man-power to be an international design-hub – Yes
Do we have the aptitude and flair – No

Now the second point is not all negative. It is just that our strengths lie elsewhere.
Why we don’t have the necessary aptitude, I guess it is partly cultural and partly the thought process.
These are some of the reasons I can think of:
  1. Education system: For creative thinking, restrictions are always a barrier. And sadly we have a rigid education system. Creative courses are not always in the top wish list. I personally know a few mechanical / electrical engineers, who went for an MBA afterwards, and now working in IT / Financial sectors. As a result we see many Indians holding good positions in International corporate houses and Banks, but not many in the creative fields.
  2. Eye for perfection: We’re very good at work, but we get easily pleased as well. Which at times result in getting satisfied with low quality. When we have a new product, we relate that to something mediocre we had earlier, and then get satisfied with an average product (for my own safety not quoting any examples here ).
  3. Impartial thinking: We are quite good at identifying pros and cons related to an outside product, but at times give a blind eye to imperfections of our own. Which means our designs maybe accepted as flawed in other markets.
The above points are not just isolated issues for us. This happens in other countries as well. A few examples:
  • In Malaysia, Proton is the most selling brand, and they are quite proud of what they have achieved. Having said that, when you compare these with any Japanese or Korean cars, you will see what they are lacking.
  • Few years back, I worked on a project with the Swatch group (who owns quite a few watch brands like Breguet, Blancpain, Omega, Tissot, Longines, Rado, Swatch etc.). My counterpart (a French national) mentioned that most of the labor and hardwork behind these time pieces are done by the French, and they are extremely skilled in the trade, but the initial phase of conceptualization and then the final packaging and marketing is done by the Swiss. And those are the renowned Swiss watches.
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Old 5th May 2011, 11:25   #15
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Default Re: Will India become a design hub in the future?

Well guys let us for once start being a little innovative

Can we become a design hub in the future - yes

Have we made progress and on the way to create designs - Surely yes

Innovation is the key to becoming a design hub. For innovation we need to start thinking what is commercially feasible to design and sell

Nano for example has come out of certain amount of ingenuity and now the world (well some might say it comes out of the smart, but i am not sure how many of you have seen the 800 created by DC design as a rear engine very long time back)

We have all the right capabilities around using the right kind of tools in IT and the right people to use them what we need is the right ideas and the right people to lead them

Thinking innovatively we can start getting designers from outside the country to start becoming a design hub
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