- ABOUT US _ Drive is an Automotive Design Consultancy building long term relationships with design-driven companies worldwide, designing products that enhance their brand's DNA and position in the market place.
Drive has provided consultancy services to many low volume vehicle manufacturers and during that time has built up an understanding of the challenges that these businesses face in developing and establishing a successful vehicle in the market.
Niche vehicles have always provided opportunities for entrepreneurs to build successful businesses but now more than ever they are providing a solution to specific transportation problems. This is leading to opportunities for OEMs to use niche vehicles to expand their brand into new markets, become leaders by redefining a market or exploiting new technologies.
Low volume vehicles provide unique challenges in the product offering, manufacturing constraints and the commercial demands. Drive have been involved in numerous programmes and have built up experience of the various approaches to the business proposal, from designers wishing to produce their concept, technology led business opportunities and brand experience products. Spectre Cars, Delta Motorsport, Magna Styer, Zenos Cars, Caterham Cars and Lightning Car Company have benefitted from Drive’s expertise at various stages during their projects.
Whilst the funding for niche vehicle projects is provided from varying sources depending on the circumstances, the necessary underlying business case has to be rigorously tested and proved just the same, before investing of valuable time, resources and money. Drive’s in depth experience can help build the background to the project, give crucial investor confidence in the participating parties and provide experience and guidance throughout project timeline.
Through the development and refinement of the design our experienced team maintain the initial design intent whilst answering the engineering and economic challenges posed by these unique projects.
Drive’s understanding of the difficulties facing niche vehicle manufacturers (NVMs) trying to establish a company or product make them ideal partners to be involved in the development of a robust product concept and commercial strategy, whilst helping identify design and manufacturing efficiencies through collaboration with strategic partners.
Not every venture can be the success that everyone is looking for but minimising the risk by being fully aware of the undertaking at the start, with suitable gateways mapped out so that owners and investors can make informed decisions before embarking on the next phase, help to increase the chances of a sustainable business.
As July approaches our creative team are beginning to get the usual requests to produce animations and visuals for the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2019.
Drive have always shared the expertise and methodologies gained in automotive design with other product and transportation studios. Our aim is to provide a quality service, building our reputation of bringing real value to our clients. All knowledge gained from other industries is then incorporated into our work flows and brings benefit to all our clients across all sectors.
Working with yacht manufacturers’ marketing teams as well as supporting brokers, naval architects and yacht design consultancies, is an enjoyable experience allowing our creative team to work on projects without 4 wheels.
Driving down to Goodwood on Sunday morning, following a Lamborghini and keeping a watch on the Ferrari behind, I was reminded of a comment by Peter Stevens, “there are a lot of super cars, but not many super drivers!”.
Feeling a little bit of a fraud in the Zenos E10R, I parked up in the paddock whilst the line up of exotic machines on the start finish straight extended beyond the chicane.
It was great to walk round and discuss the various cars with friends and colleagues, and listen in on the comments of the crowd about the differing designs and what is the definition of a supercar! As far as our discussions were concerned they seemed to concentrate on details that we are currently in negotiation with engineers about, under/over flush conditions, door release positions and legal light heights!
This event has changed over the years and is now huge with very organised parking, a simulator ride, numerous breakfast bars to satisfy the bacon butty brigade and various stalls selling their products.
One of the more interesting exhibitors being Greenpower Education Trust who are a UK based charity which gets young people enthusiastic about science and engineering by challenging them to design, build and race an electric car. Have a look at their website here.
So with a clear road up through Petworth on the way back allowing me to enjoy the great handling of the Zenos, I look forward to catching up with more of you at the next ‘designer’s breakfast club’!
The Coventry University Automotive and Transport Design Degree Show once again showcases the talented designers graduating from this highly regarded course.
Chris Longmore presented the Drive Sketchbook Award to Marco Gulla whose sketching output clearly demonstrated his ideas and concepts through inspiring and engaging hand-drawn sketches.
Along with the Award he received £500 to enable him to continue his design appreciation and development. Hopefully he will use it to travel!!
Marco was a deserving winner, with other designers such as Alexey Andreev and Yinhan Zhang also displaying a clear understanding of the benefit of a sketchbook to capture ideas and thoughts at any time; realising it is the instant impulse that makes them so valuable rather than sketches retouched through photoshop.
To see more of the exhibits please follow the link here XXX
Worth visiting to see the professionalism of all the designers –
Automotive and Transport Degree Show times –
Thursday May 16th 2019 6-10pm : Industry Preview night
The Collective at Coventry
Thursday 16th – Saturday 25th May 2019
*Sunday May 19th Degree Shows are closed
SAIC have an advanced design studio on prime Maryleborne real estate in the middle of London. The open plan arrangement with designers’ zones, review areas, chill out space and groovy chairs provides a creative environment with which to attract design talent to ddefine the future SAIC Group products.
When I started Drive and was shown impressive facilities of OEMs like Volvo or engineering firms like Magna, it made me wonder how a design consultancy like Drive can compete with the major automotive manufacturers and their studios.
The answer of course is we don’t.
Major car companies carry out most of their design work themselves, with dedicated design departments capable of handling every aspect of the design process.
But few car companies do not use the services of external car design consultancies for some smaller projects or as a validation of their internal designs, whilst many smaller niche car companies use such consultancies to supplement their more limited in-house design facilities on larger design projects.
In most cases the reason we get shown around a company’s design facilities is because Drive is working with them or about to. They see that Drive has something to offer them and they want us to work with their teams to stimulate creativity and maximise the design output. Whether it be for market insights, a fresh design perspective or simply additional digital resource we are able to provide focussed and professional expertise.
As with the studio space, I question ‘how can we compete’ when recruiting creative talent, when automotive OEMs can offer so much in terms of employment, facilities and certainty of projects well into the future.
Again we don’t compete, what we have to offer is different.
We are an efficient studio that has a welcoming, creative and professional atmosphere. We work with numerous brands so it is unlikely that we will designing a similar face of a car or grill for long. The type of work is varied, and is more likely to be concept ideation than production detailing. The projects will cover a large spectrum with mobility solutions, aircraft interiors or maybe another supercar inspired Track-tor (see here) being as likely as the next production SUV.
A consultancy environment like Drive’s isn’t for everyone, but the constant change benefits our creative team keeping them fresh, interested and gaining a breadth of experiences that differentiates them from other designers. The very skill set that many design chiefs look for in their next hire, indeed two former Drive employees will be able relax at the new SAIC coffee bar.
It is the diverse experiences that attracts our clients and benefits their projects as they get new perspectives, fresh ideas and insight from our broad knowledge gained across different industries and clients.
So if you are looking for some creative input for your next project or if a consultancy environment is somewhere you would like to work, come round for a chat. We don’t have a coffee bar but we do have a fantastic café around the corner.
(SAIC Design Advanced London top image – photos source SAIC)