The Oban Times - - MO­TORS -


Mak­ing a new car is usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with pro­fes­sion­als such as de­sign­ers, en­gi­neers or as­sem­bly line work­ers. How­ever, ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing also in­volves sev­eral cu­ri­ous pro­fes­sions that re­quire a high de­gree of crafts­man­ship, cre­ativ­ity and pre­ci­sion. The fol­low­ing five are a few ex­am­ples of th­ese:

The first driver: two mil­lion kilo­me­tres per year. This is the dis­tance cov­ered by the team of ex­pert driv­ers to test all the cars that leave the SEAT fac­tory in Mar­torell in a sin­gle year.

Th­ese pro­fes­sion­als closely study the per­for­mance of the ve­hi­cles as soon as they come off the as­sem­bly line, test­ing them at dif­fer­ent speeds on six dif­fer­ent types of pave­ment, in­clud­ing cob­ble­stones and un­even sur­faces to en­sure they do not make any un­pleas­ant noise.

Dur­ing the process they also test that horns, lights and brakes func­tion cor­rectly.

The clay sculp­tor: th­ese sculp­tors hand­craft clay into life- sized cars that even weigh the same as a real ve­hi­cle. This re­quires 2,500 ki­los of clay and up to 10,000 hours of pa­tient scrap­ing to elab­o­rate a sin­gle clay model, which will fully dis­play a car’s sil­hou­ette be­fore lock­ing in its de­sign.

The car tai­lor: they hand- sew the ve­hi­cle up­hol­stery pat­terns, com­ing up with the best com­bi­na­tion of colours and fab­rics and hides to suit the per­son­al­ity of each car. Th­ese ex­pert tai­lors need more than 30 me­tres of seams to fully up­hol­ster an en­tire car, and their cre­ations are crafted two years in ad­vance.

The seat tester: this pro­fes­sion con­sists in shap­ing the ideal seat. Testers and their teams also have to per­form up to 20,000

Car som­me­liers: their most im­por­tant work in­stru­ment is their nose to achieve the ul­ti­mate goal: the fa­mous ‘new car smell’. This team of chemists per­forms more than 400 smell tests ev­ery year, ex­pos­ing cars to tem­per­a­tures of 60 º C. This pro­fes­sion also places some cu­ri­ous de­mands on them: they can­not smoke or wear per­fume so as not to al­ter the out­come of test re­sults. fold­ing op­er­a­tions for each dif­fer­ent type of seat. The study is ex­haus­tive: they have to find the right foams, fab­rics, struc­ture or stitch­ing that will adapt to dif­fer­ent body types and ex­ter­nal con­di­tions. They also en­sure the cor­rect de­sign of head­rests to pre­vent pos­si­ble neck in­juries.

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