EP 296 . 29 May 24

Automobile design as a career

With Akanksha Sethi

In the episode

  1. Who is an automobile designer? What are the sub-disciplines within it? You deal with Colors, Material, and Finish. Tell us more about it. What do you do when it deals with CMF?
  2. How does one grow in a career in automobile design? Can you describe the career ladder for automobile designers in India? What are the typical milestones, changes of responsibilities, and challenges at each stage?
  3. What is the difference when they say, “Manufactured in India” versus “Assembled in India”? How and where do designers from India fit in this setup? What goes when collaboration happens – Suzuki + Maruti or Hero and Honda?
  4. What are some of the most iconic or impactful car colors or materials and finishes you’ve been part of in your career? What makes them special?
  5. What defines the success of a good color for a car?
  6. How do we define a good, reliable, and safe material? What are checks and tests done to test materials?
  7. How have the skills required for automobile design changed after liberalization (1990)? Or maybe when Maruti 800 came on the market in 1983?
  8. What new skills are becoming increasingly important, especially in the context of electric vehicles and sustainable technologies when we talk about CMF?
  9. What are the major trends and challenges that are shaping and will shape the industry in the coming decades when it comes to CMF?
  10. In this 10-part series, I have 4 woman designers and you are one of them. As per the D’Source repository, only 2 women designers out of 19 Automotive designers in India. Can you talk a little bit about gender diversity within the automobile design industry? What unique challenges have you faced being a Women Designer in the Automobile / Man’s world? What advice would you like to give young designers entering the Automobile Design world?

About Akanksha Sethi

The Designer’s Digest series is created in partnership with @godrejdesignlab. This series is about Design as a profession, its daily grind, the secrets to climbing the design career ladder, and what edge we’ll need to thrive in the captivating design world.

Starting with a few numbers collected from SIAM, (Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures) and the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA)

  1. Over 4.4 million vehicles were produced in India in 2022-23.
  2. We’ve around 10 Big players in the Automobile industry, Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Honda Cars India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Renault India, MG Motor India, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto.
  3. India ranks as the fourth-largest passenger vehicle market worldwide.
  4. 1.2% of cars sold in India were EVs. However, as per ETAuto, EV sales are rapidly growing, with a 230% increase.
  5. The Indian government aims to achieve 30% EV penetration by 2030 through various initiatives and policies.

To discuss all this and Automobile Design as a career in India… Akanksha Sethi joins us. Akanksha has been a Colors, Materials, and Finish Design, Group lead at Maruti Suzuki for the past 13 years. She did her Bachelor of Design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Before joining Maruti Suzuki, she had worked at Amrapali Jewels and Titian Industries.