Design to cost and target costing are applied in a good manner in the development of Tata Nano car. Value engineering states that designers and managers of design do not make use of all value opportunities or low cost opportunites in the early stages of product life cycle. Design to cost and target costing force design department to make greater use of value opportunites in the early stages. Value engineers are being associated with design teams to incorporate value opportunities. Tata Nano is a good example of use of target costing and value engineering.
Number of authors and journalists have contributed to document the cost reduction activities undertaken in Nano development. This knol highlights some of them.
Overdrive Team, Network 18, 19th March 2009
The ECU, or engine control unit is a small computer that controls all aspects of engine operation. It is expensive, but, it is needed because an engine today must satisfy emissions norms, sound norms, produce an acceptable spread of power, return an acceptable level of economy and still more. Tata worked with Bosch to take the ECU down to an unprecedented price by reducing the sensors used by the ECU to govern the engine down to half the usual number.
Only one wiper is provided
Small wheels and mounting
Small wheels are lighter, which positively impacts economy. Further, these wheels were mounted with only three lugs resulting in lower costs but it is modification done to a feature which became automatic in car design to improve economy. There is no power steering in the car. Further, the design team split the tyre sizes to give the front a slightly thinner spec, while keeping the driven wheels fatter. This balances the impact of the wider track at the front, and in driving terms should endow the car with mild understeer at the limit - which is a safety feature. The engineered understeer helpsin developoing a balanced, neutral car. But smaller tyres mean less rubber, so they should be cheaper as well.
The non-opening hatch also provides cost reduction. It means no costs in terms of beading, hinges and locks, and that the whole panel can be a relatively cheap addition to the monocoque which will add to the strength of the chassis without adding cost.
Nano uses a light gauge metal body and the production process will aim for minimum wastage.
The four-stroke parallel twin 624cc engine has number of patented invention of Tata company. The single-counterbalancer equipped motor is being labelled as a world first for a car application. The engine is fuel-injected and it is a two-valve single overhead cam design.
Placement of engine at the rear
The rear-engine, rear-wheel drive format eliminates the driveshaft and saves some money. The engine is packaged in a stunning way. The motor is behind and under the rear seats. The hatch does not open. The engine is accessed by flipping the rear seats forward. The engine could be pretty reliable. The engine's non-intrusion into the passenger cabin liberates interior space - 21 per cent more interior space than the Maruti 800.
Central instruments and dashboard
The central meters and the dash on the Nano eliminates the need to adapt that large plastic assembly for right- and left-hand drive markets. Tata will offer a speedometer, odometer and a digital fuel gauge plus lights that are spartan, but complete instrumentation. There is no glove box.
Filler cap and single mirror
The filler cap is actually located under the nose. On the cost front, this means that body does not need to a hole in it at someplace for the filler cap. There will be only right side mirror and left side mirror may be an optional extra.
Rediff Article on 12.1.2008
The 623 cc two-cylinder petrol engine from aluminum. Conventional engines are made from cast iron, adding weight as well as cost to the car. Being smaller and lighter, the cost was lower.
The engine being lighter and placed at the rear of the car put less pressure on the steering systems, which allowed for more cost savings. As a result, there was no requirement for a link between the engine and the rear wheels.
The tubular design of the car instead of the conventional 'rod' design definitely helped cut costs, particularly the processes involved.
Costs were cut by using regular bulbs that meet the regulations instead of long life bulbs.
Cost-effective emission reduction solutions
For example, BASF Catalysts has developed a catalytic converter for the Nano to meet India’s current emission standards. BASF local experts in India are supported by colleagues from the USA to achieve this cost-effective regulatory compliance. BASF operates a catalyst manufacturing plant in Chennai, India.
Weight savings for better fuel efficiency- Plastic air intake manifold
The Nano’s plastic air intake manifold will be produced by Tata Visteon and employs BASF’s Ultramid® glass-fiber reinforced engineering plastic. Generally, air intake manifolds supply the engine with the air it needs for combustion and was traditionally made from aluminium. By replacing it with Ultramid leads to 40% weight saving which in turn leads to better fuel efficiency and lesser emission, essential features for the Nano.
More Articles for Study
Engineering the Nano
Value Engineering of Nano
New Product Development Process - Tata Nano
Tata Motors Commecial Launch and Some Component Suppliers details
Wharton article on Nano
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