Ross Hallett hails progression with TMETC

Just as the Tata Motors passenger vehicle range has evolved and expanded its field of expertise, the same can be said for TMETC's Senior General Manager - Design Operations and Programme Delivery.

Ross Hallett joined the TMETC team in 2006 as an Appearance Craftsmanship Specialist. Using his expertise in perfecting colour, texture and material harmonisation, Ross started work on developing Tata Motors' design processes and functions in line with global automotive best practice. His initial focus was on the Indian design studio, establishing and growing the Colour, Materials and Finish (CMF) design team. His experience in CMF design and appearance craftsmanship, gained from other manufacturers, formed the initial framework of the company's Design Perceived Quality (DPQ) department.

Now at the helm of the Tata Motors design studio operations in Coventry, managing a team of 30, Ross is raising the profile of the UK studio as an integral cog in Tata Motors' global design network.

"The role of TMETC and its contribution to our parent company in India has changed dramatically in the 12 years I have worked for Tata Motors. When TMETC was established in 2005 there was no design department. Today the UK studio is leading the way in passenger vehicle design and has played a major role in establishing the award-winning Tata Motors vehicle range being manufactured today," explained Ross.

"It is imperative that our UK design operation delivers outstanding value and quality. As the demand on the UK operation increases and we secure more projects, the demand for talented individuals to join our growing team increases."

In 2010 Ross was promoted to his current role and his focus moved from India to the UK. With a team of just six people at the time, Ross was instrumental in developing the design studio operation at TMETC.

His first project in the new studio Ops role was the Pixel concept programme, designed for the Geneva Motor Show in 2011. The zero-turn technology of the Tata Pixel enabled the vehicle to achieve a 2.6m turning circle, and deliver class leading manoeuvrability for congested Indian cities. Although the Pixel was never set to go into production, it was this lateral thinking by the designers that helped demonstrate the capabilities and potential of the TMETC team.

"The Pixel gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the design and model making capabilities of our newly formed UK studio operation. This then led to the development of the Mega Pixel concept and then the award-winning Nexon Concept."

The UK Design team is now working on vehicles for Tata Motors' newest vehicle platforms. These are exciting projects which will help strengthen the growing Tata Motors passenger car portfolio.

"Creating a successful concept or production car is dependent on the close collaboration between many specialist automotive design disciplines. The designers have the vision and my team are in place to help them turn that vision into reality. Our specialist design project managers provide the project governance. Our studio engineers are the gatekeepers between the design and engineering, they ensure that our design themes are feasible and executed with minimal change and dilution. Our digital and physical modelling teams create the 3D assets that will eventually be transferred back into India and into production."

The biggest opportunity for Ross came in 2012 when Tata Motors took the decision to invest in the £100million National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) on the University of Warwick campus. He was given the opportunity to work alongside the JLR Design team, Warwick manufacturing group and architects, Cullianans Studios, to design and develop the new Tata Motors UK Design facility.

"NAIC is a fantastic addition to the Tata Motors global design group. It has enabled us to increase our capacity for design programme support in the UK and add new facilities and capabilities to our UK design operation.

"I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to develop my career at TMETC, and I look forward continuing that journey with Tata Motors as we strive to design even better products and customer experiences."

Pratap Bose, Vice President of Global Design at Tata Motors, said: "The growth of Ross' career within Tata Motors Design demonstrates the company's ability to offer a solid career path to its employees.

"Design is today much more than the creative output of the studios in terms of clay and digital models. Design in Tata Motors is a business function which needs to demonstrate creative leadership coupled with strong business outcomes which align with the overall corporate vision and mission.

"Ross is an integral part of the Global senior design management team, and his career path is exemplary."