6
Nov

CARS TIME TO MARKET.(II) PROTOTYPE & PRE-LAUNCH

Escrito el 6 noviembre 2010 por Jesus Guerro en General

After having the opportunity to contemplate the design for the first time in 3 dimensions thanks to the clay, the next step is the creation of the prototype which is usually presented with two campaigns, about 24 months before the launch of final model.
Prototypes can range from simple models with no engine or interior elements to real models close to final product. In other cases, prototypes are not even the threshold of a commercial launch itself, but just an innovation exercise that helps to bring prestige to the brand and whose purpose focuses on setting trends of future.
These prototypes are presented to the press and public at the Salon del ‘Automobile, among the most representative ones we can distinguish Paris, Geneva and Detroit.
It is the time to mass production. It is increasingly common for different models to share the same platform, same engine and even between different manufacturers in order to reduce costs. So, on the platform of a compact segment model is also designed the minivan and the SUV of the brand. However, despite these synergies, launching a new model will not require less than 500 million euros in almost any case.
For several months, countless trucks will move components that will make up the entire production line, high precision machines. During assembly,  a particular concept of this sector which is “perceived quality” is tracked, to verify that the components to be used correspond to those described in the initial specifications. The “perceived quality” is closely related to ergonomics and interior design compactness and especially with the materials employed. So, soft plastics are preferred to hard plastics and no gaps or unusable spaces should be permitted.
Despite the huge advances in robotics, direct labor goes on being intensive in the car factories. In some cases people are required to operate the machines and at other times the task can only be developed manually. For instance, some seals and the assembly of some interior elements. This also requires a process of selection and training of operators who will be in charged for specific functions in the future deployment.
Prior to final mass production, the Pre-series are made, which usually comprise about 100 units and will suppose the basis for testing to incorporate the latest amendments to the end.
These Pre-series are subjected to extremes of temperature and other environmental conditions as well as drastic security testing to verify the efficiency of the car in front of circumstances of impact, front, side and rear.
Once the model is launched to the market, production increases progressively from 50 units to 1000 units daily in case of volume segments. Each car is built in about 20 hours, every minute out one, with 4000 spot welds and between 10 and 14 kg of paint.
From here the sovereign client will rule on the adequacy and success of this long 5 years project

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