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Whos Where: Pierre Castinel is Head of Design at Tata

Wed, 02 Apr 2008 00:00:00 -0700

Indian automaker Tata has been front page news often in recent times, first because of the impressive one-lakh Nano, which changes the automotive industry playing field, and most recently because of its acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford's Premiere Automotive Group for the tidy sum of $2.3 billion - less than half what Ford paid for both companies in 1989. 

At the helm of Tata's design efforts is Pierre Castinel, Head of Design. Though only officially announced in March this year, Castinel has been active at Tata since he left Renault in summer 2007, a company he worked at for 20 years.

Castinel started as a modeler for Peugeot and worked there for three years. He then went to work in the theater as a set designer but continued drawing, returning to Renault as a modeler. After showing aspects of his portfolio created while taking night courses and building models at home in his own time, Castinel was asked to do an internship where he competed for creating Renault's first concept car. His model would become the 1988 Megane concept.

For his efforts, Castinel also won one year at Art Center Europe where he continued to study until returning to Renault as a designer. During his 20 year career at the French automaker he was involved in the design of the Renault Trafic, the Laguna 2 and a multitude of commercial vehicle designs. He also worked on the interior for the Renault Master upper-medium size van and was project manager for the Renault Civis fixed-track light urban transport bus concept, later built by Fiat-Iveco.

Having launched the brand identity for Renault Samsung in Korea, Castinel worked as creative Design Manager on Samsung SM5, SM7 and SM3. He also worked as project manager on Renault Koleos, Sandero and the forthcoming Megane, a concept of which was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

As Tata's Head of Design, Castinel now spends his time between the company's design studios in the UK, India and Korea. "We are a new company and we need to set up our brand identity with a strategy," Castinel said of Tata when CDN spoke with him in Geneva, "The target is to show that Tata is at the European standard in terms of quality: and when I say quality I mean quality for the car, quality for the manufacturing and quality for the styling too."

Castinel is charged with developing the design direction and forming the brand identity for Tata's full line of vehicles: cars, pickups, SUVs, MPVs, trucks and buses. "We started out as a group of 20 and [the design team] now has more than 40 people and still needs more employees," he said. If Castinel`s career so far is any indication, we expect the full line of Tata vehicles to thrive under his direction.

Related Article:
Tata Nano - Geneva 2008

By Eric Gallina