JLR design, engineering teams draw one step closer
The Advanced Product Creation Center of Jaguar Land Rover, which opened last year in Gaydon, UK, will play a pivotal role in the Group’s product development activities. Positioned as the epicenter of product growth, the £500 million (about Rs 4,374 crore) facility brings together the entire chain of design, engineering, and product buying functions under one roof.
Increased collaboration between different verticals is not only recognized as the key to current and next-gen JLR vehicles but also as the means to create future technologies, including autonomous, electrical, connected, and shared mobility.
Nick Rogers, executive director, automotive innovation, Jaguar Land Rover, and Gerry McGovern, chief creative officer, Land Rover, thought that the production of vehicles was a joint project between designers and engineers. “I think part of the concern is understanding how much innovation you can move – what can be achieved and what isn’t, when to stop and when it’s within costs and regulations,” said design boss McGovern.
Mutual compatibility is crucial in providing a balance between design and engineering in the final product, something that the executives believe is expressed in the new JLR design vehicle crop. “Of the new Evoque you can see that we’ve just released, or the new Protector, we ‘re working very closely together,” Rogers said.
The prerequisites of any successful vehicle design are optimal volumes and proportions that are perceptible in elements such as the wheel-body relationship, front and back overhangs, A-pillar location relative to the wheel, etc. “And that’s where most contact takes place between the designers and the engineers, as Nick and his team have to build the architecture to give us the proportion. They must be incredibly innovative when it comes to dealing with the law in a way that meets the laws, but they can still give us the things we need to have that optimum proportion, “McGovern said.
Manufacturing vehicles with large wheels, for example, is a feature common with designers because it shrinks the vehicle’s visual mass. Thus, the company bosses revealed that the next-generation Range Rover “would possibly have a 23-inch” wheel size. Larger wheels need to be taken into account in engineering, and if done correctly, they can also improve the vehicle’s performance in rugged terrain, thereby improving engineering considerations.
Another example of the confluence of design and engineering in the new Land Rover Defender is the decision of the company to provide an upright tailgate and rear-mounted spare wheel, in an attempt to reduce the rear overhang and improve the off-road capability of the SUV.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has had a knock-on impact on all aspects of life, and industry experts say it is no different to automotive design. Rogers explained, “We strongly believe the world will be different post-COVID. People should be more worried about personal transportation. So we are doing a lot of work on what the next-generation vehicles are going to look like.
With the amount of time spent on vehicles expected to increase, emphasis will be mainly on improving cabin space and providing more streamlined designs and functions.
In FY2020, JLR announced sales of about 5.08,000 units, which is around a fourth of its German rivals. A small scope means the British automaker needs to exploit the exclusivity of its company to maximize sales and cover investment costs.
“We don’t have a couple of our rivals in size. That is precisely why we need to make sure we are highly distinguished from them. We need to create persuasive, emotionally engaging vehicles that resonate with people, “McGovern commented.
Rogers also stated that the limited scale can be turned around as optimistic as it gives them the chance to be agile, enabling the company to make the Jaguar I-Pace, one of the first luxury electric SUVs, and re-imagine the iconic Defender.
With in-car connectivity being one of the big disruptors for the automotive industry, JLR is in the process of rolling out its solutions, established with the help of companies like Tata Group and TCS.
“Every single car that we launch this year will always be on, always up-to-date, and have tech connected. Every single car will have an engine for diagnostics.
So we can continuously monitor the car’s health, and send out software updates, “Rogers said. He added, “The fact that every JLR design car we’re producing now when we introduce the new ones – all 21 models we have this year, none of them will have to go back to the factory for software upgrades or diagnostics, we ‘re going to do all of that through the backend. It is a veritable transformation.