The seamless integration between the Style and Design departments is manifest in the ongoing exchange and all-round sharing of information and data. Once upon a time, design stages occurred in strict sequence and a group responsible for a particular activity had to complete one stage before moving onto the next, but nowadays information technologies makes it possible for stages to take place in parallel.
Design activities begin at the same time as the style development activities, when a team of designers carries out the initial design feasibility studies on the pre-selected shapes and lines, and both activities proceed in parallel to optimise development times and costs.&
The engineers build a virtual prototype of the car based on the styling guidelines and assess its performance.
This moment is the essence of automotive design. At this point, the shapes produced by the creatives are scrutinised from the viewpoint of execution, cost analysis and technological feasibility.
The process continues, step-by-step, from the feasibility studies to an initial assessment of the body layout including the shell, floorpan and the exterior and interior finish, carried out on a virtual model. Then comes the stage of structural analysis and mathematical modelling: the various parts of the car are examined down to the very last detail, from the floorpan, to the side panel, bonnet, doors and boot. Mechanical design comes into play from the outset, developing all the mechanical components except the engine: Italdesign Giugiaro is concerned exclusively with the installation and drive transmission interface. Virtual simulations of vehicle performance proceed simultaneously: virtual torsion and impact tests are carried out using cutting-edge mathematical modelling tools to measure the reactions of the car being designed and its occupants.
This activity makes it possible to establish that customers requirements are respected. The specifications drawn up for each individual order must comply with the comfort and safety parameters defined and respect the laws in the relevant countries. The design study is complemented by the execution of electrical and electronic diagrams that are drawn up in conjunction with specialists who work with the commissioning automotive company to build component parts, such as the headlamps and the increasingly complex electrical and electronic instruments.
The Technological Feasibility and Methods department also plays a part in this process by carrying out ongoing checks on the feasibility of producing the car while still at the design stage, examining its compatibility with production methods and the equipment used in the customer's plants.
The prototype stage is therefore reduced to a check that overall performance levels are met and is no longer an interactive design stage. In some less complex designs, this stage is eliminated altogether: for example the engineering of a derivative model (such as a station wagon) from a basic model that has already been defined.