Business GCSE / National 5: Market research and new car design

Presenter Ant Anstead visits a top international design studio to see how Nissan set about designing new car models.

The General Manager of Product Planning explains that design focuses on identifying customer needs.

One way is to observe the every-day use customers make of their vehicles.

In 2003 the design studio set about creating a replacement model for the Nissan Almera.

The first step is to identify customer needs and market gaps.

For instance, what features and appearance are likely to appeal in four years’ time?

Market research results suggest customers increasingly buying four-wheel cars to make them ‘feel safe’.

Buyers express a desire to buy more ‘exciting vehicles’ than conventional hatchbacks.

Designers are given two words to combine to create a new car: seductive and durable.

The result is the multimillion selling Nissan Qashqai.

The outline of the concept car is chisled out of a clay block by milling machines and finished by hand by skilled clay modelling artists.

The final curves of the car are decided by the clay modelling artist rather than the computer.

Some parts are 3D printed. The car is covered with a plastic silver film to make it look real.

Teacher Notes

This could be used introduce the concept of the design mix and the need to use market research as a basis for design decisions.

Students can investigate the design concept of prototype self-driving cars and then compare their function and aesthetic with conventional vehicles.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching GCSE (KS4) / National 5 business.

More Business with Steph McGovern:

Logistics, stock control and car manufacturing
Lean car production
The challenge of running a theme park
Kaizen - new ideas to improve productivity
Robots and automation in car manufacture
The rise and fall of Sunny Delight
How to market a new cereal
The challenge of launching a new café