If one word summarises why global carmakers choose us to engineer and enhance their new vehicles, it’s trust. And achieving it is a big deal.
Work in product development with a global carmaker long enough and you’ll eventually discover an automaker’s greatest work is often hidden from view.
Buyers of new cars can usually ‘feel’ that a latest model drives better than the one it replaces, or it has a different ‘character’ to its competitors. They can’t always see or hear it, but they can experience it. And there’s a reason why.
Much of it comes down to a large and intricate collection of engineering and manufacturing decisions and processes. Think of them like the cells that make up your body. They make a new-vehicle model series unique. They make it “drive a certain way” or “have a certain feel to it.” They also make it work properly.
Knowing how these decisions and processes work is one of the secret sauce ingredients needed to create safe and successful new cars.
And not many companies outside of global carmakers have this knowledge.
It’s common for big automakers to turn to expert firms for specialist services. In the case of niche vehicles (such as sports cars, off-road 4x4s and some EVs), as well as new-car development programs, many of them turn to us.
There are plenty of reasons why they look outside for these. But the task of choosing an outside company isn’t easy and it’s here trust comes in.
Here’s a few ways we’ve earned it over the last 26 years.
The first is with robust engineering processes. Ours is called the Premcar Product Development System (PPDS). It’s how we create new cars (including EVs) for OEM automakers, run their new-car engineering projects, develop new-car enhancement programs, and execute EV conversions for different vehicle types.
The PPDS is our proprietary design, engineering and manufacturing system.
We’ve developed it over many years, and we also use it on our defence and aerospace projects. It’s advanced, it’s strict and it’s what determines the end result of a project. Functionally, it’s very similar to how global automakers create their cars.
Another big reason why carmakers trust us is the way we engineer and develop vehicle enhancements. We stay within the bandwidth of a new vehicle’s mechanical design.
For example, when we improve the handling of a sports-oriented car, we measure and calculate a l-o-n-g list of factors, such as frequencies in different components under various conditions; we take NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) recordings; we measure simple clearances, and more. Having all of these gives us the perimeter for our program – and then we work inside it.
Sound simple? Well, it’s easy to think “just fit 35-inch tyres to that SUV” or “just turbocharge the V6 in that car” – but the effects of these changes are vast.
Do it the ‘quick and easy’ way and you’ll trigger hundreds of dominoes, each needing complex money-burning solutions. That’s how costs spiral out of control and how programs end prematurely.
It’s also how to build an unmerchantable new car that won’t meet any safety or warranty requirements.
Do it the correct way, however, and you’ll have a safe and appealing new car that gives customers what they want, the kind that also keeps dealers and official importers happy.
Having a development perimeter might sound like an easy way to enhance a new car’s performance but think about it for a minute and you’ll quickly realise it’s actually more difficult.
It’s the same as working in a confined space, like digging for gold underground and not above-ground with an excavator.
New-vehicle warranties are another reason automakers trust us with their new cars. We take our share of responsibility for new-vehicle warranties.
For example, if the new-car model series we enhance has a five-year in-country new-vehicle warranty, that’s the length of warranty coverage we provide on our products and work. And the process for customers remains unchanged; they simply contact their brand’s preferred dealer and any warranty work needed is done there.
Culture is another reason we’re trusted by OEM carmakers. Working with global automakers in the USA, Japan, China and other major nations means we’re used to working with different cultures.
Clear communication and anticipating people’s needs can mean the difference between a successful new-car program and one that burns doubt into a carmaker’s memories.
This diversity of cultural experience is also matched by the Premcar team’s mix of experience. Most of our staff have long backgrounds in carmaking with various OEM brands, from big to the biggest.
And their days at work are similar to their weekend hobbies; many of them are off-road enthusiasts, drivers and custom-car builders. So they know car culture and what high-involvement new-car buyers want.
One final trust-builder we’ve earned is one you might not have heard about. It’s relates to what’s called the OEM clock. If you’ve never developed new cars inside an automaker it’s hard to depict, but imagine a calendar made up of dozens and dozens of project timelines, each with expensive deadlines.
And then imagine that most of these timelines collide with each other.
To navigate them you have to plan way ahead and anticipate every program wobble and have resources ready to manage them and balance them all and… that’s just for one new car’s program.
There are other OEM clocks ticking across that single model’s lifecycle.
And then there’s the OEM clock for its end-of-life replacement program.
All of these deadlines are set, and the hands on all those clocks are ticking. If you don’t know what you’re doing it could start to sound like a time bomb…
Understanding the OEM clock is critical.
You can see why automakers don’t search google for expert partners.
It’s probably no different when it comes to developing pharmaceuticals, computers or medical equipment.
Trusted specialists with long records of success that can operate as a carmaker’s third arm are rare.
Which is why so much of it comes down to trust.
Bernie Quinn – Engineering Director, Premcar Pty Ltd
About Premcar – Premcar Pty Ltd is a leading Australian vehicle engineering business that specialises in the automotive, defence and aerospace industries. For more than 25 years, global car-makers have made Premcar their go-to partner for the complete design, engineering and manufacture of niche-model new cars, full-scale new-vehicle development programs, and electric vehicle (EV) conversions and manufacturing. As the name behind more than 200,000 new cars and 55,000 new-vehicle engines, Premcar’s body of work is extensive and has delivered technical and sales success for major car brands from Europe, the USA, Japan, China and Australia. Visit premcar.com.
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