Creative Industries: Seven of the best for Britain

IAD motors ahead
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The Independent Online
SOUTH KOREA'S Daewoo Group hopes that a team of skilled engineers and designers in Sussex can help the company realise its goal of trebling group sales to more than pounds 124bn by the turn of the century.

In 1994, Daewoo Motor Company took over Worthing-based International Automotive Design (IAD) to beef up its vehicle design capabilities with some British expertise, acknow- ledged to be the best in the world. Since then, Daewoo has been spending over pounds 50m a year at the Worthing Technical Centre, which includes facilities for aesthetic design, product engineering and prototype manufacture. In four years, staffing has risen from 200 to more than 1,000, while the facilities now include a purpose-built design facility costing over pounds 30m.

"In the automotive world there is a core of design expertise, particularly from England," says Simon Hall, general manager of the centre's department of advanced technology and process development. "With the opportunity to take over IAD, Daewoo had the chance to pick up some expertise to help them in the development and design of new products."

The centre is developing a commercial vehicle, as well as a mini-car to be launched in Europe towards the end of the year. 'There's a lot of expectation for us to provide innovative ideas," adds Mr Hall. "We play a very important part in Daewoo's Vision 2000 blueprint [for increased sales and technological breakthroughs] because we give the corporation an increased capability for design. It's also somewhat cosmopolitan here as against our Korean headquarters, so hopefully we can provide a different view on the development of new products for Daewoo as well."

Mr Hall's team has a mandate to use new technology to come up with ways to reduce engin-eering design lead times and get cars to market more quickly. The product-engineering department's network of 350 computer- aided design workstations is one of the largest in Europe.

"About 10 years ago, computer-aided design took over from the drawing board and now the tools that are available within CAD are quite ad-vanced," says Mr Hall. "We're looking at doing more and more in the digital arena. We have the capability to simulate how prototypes are built by 'soft-building' them in the digital world before we actually commit."

To keep up the momentum, the company is looking at sponsoring university programmes to help produce graduates with the skills to match its needs.