The Marazzo’s design was the outcome of a rather unique exploration for us. We (Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Automotive Sector) are a company that has a portfolio of SUVs and pick-ups (website here) and in our market, vehicles from adjacent categories like MPVs were also in the consideration set of customers. So we decided to create a portfolio of such products; the uniqueness was that we were designing four products across three different platforms and striving to achieve a common identity.
Mahindra’s identity is that of Freedom and Adventure; in the case of a family of MPVs, the direction was more towards Freedom. Our advanced design team came up with the unifying character across the four vehicles as body side crease lines that were inspired from movement in nature, in animals, that signified different purposes, like agility or strength or speed, as needed to be communicated by the design of the specific MPV. By this, we were able to generate forms which seemed to belong to a family and yet have a distinct identity – the images below demonstrate this, from sketch to volume model, clay, prove out and see through to finished car.
For Marazzo, the brief was to design a ‘pa and pals’ car, a car that created a connect with friends and with family. There was a lot of imagery around socialising, partying, picnics and family occasions. There was need for an easy drive, comfort, safety, flexibility, all with an emphasis on fun.
Right from the start, it was clear to the two design teams that worked on this project, the Pininfarina team at Cambiano and the inhouse Mahindra Design team in Kandivli, that the design had to have a strong brand connect and a strong individual identity.
The Mahindra connect was to have the fundamentals of dominant stance; full bold volumes and taut muscular surfaces.
The innovative patented architecture of body-on-frame construction with front wheel drive (FWD) gave us a wide track of 1600mm driving a low planted stance; need for easy ingress-egress pushed the sill and H point down; this coupled with a dead rear axle enabled a low raked-back roof without compromising the Mahindra DNA of command seating. Occupant space and ride comfort defined the wheelbase at 2760mm, but with tight overhangs we got a compact design with an overall length of 4585mm; all of this laid the groundwork for good proportions.
At Mahindra, with a commitment to create intrigue by design, we are inclined to seek inspiration from nature, characters and customer insights. In case of Marazzo, one of the shortlisted theme models, by virtue of its sleek streamlined silhouette, narrowing facia and the aggressive Mahindra grill, was inspired by the movement, shape and expression of a shark. We decided that this was a concept that could revolutionise the segment and further augmented the design with shark-inspired cues.
Our Advanced Design guidelines for interiors are Unique, Robust and Contemporary; the key sketch that evolved out of the research showed aspects that we felt were critical for creating excitement in the category. The design was edgy – the crisp leading chamfer of the topper layer on the instrument panel, the tautly stretched appliqué connecting the functional elements of the centre bezel with the passenger side, the chiselled decorative element like sleek wings spreading into the door trim and creating a perception of luxurious space; this, coupled with the tech features like the 4.2” TFT screen in the cluster and the touch screen infotainment with cap-sense that seamlessly blends into the glossy applique, created a mood which we called Premium-Tech and went on to explore in other elements of the interiors and Color Material Finish (CMF).
The door and pillar trims had to complement the sense of space with their linear crease lines. Ergonomically placed armrests, release levers and map pockets were integrated with features like switches and speakers with precise sculpting which bring a sense of wellness; thoughtful complex surfacing is behind the simplicity and serenity.
The roof liner with its integrated air distribution system was an innovative idea created by our engineering team which aligned with our sketches for a clean streamlined feel; a sense of calmness and refinement that comes with diffused air flow was infused into the design.
It was very important to translate all the dynamic lines and tautness and our clay modellers precisely captured that.
Fuelled by the exciting design of the interiors, we eschewed the typical beiges and medium contrasts for a deep shade of blue-black with sharp contrast; we developed a layered technical grain for the topper areas to emphasize the feel of space and modernity.
This was the first project that the Mahindra Design team worked on with its new engineering center Mahindra North American Technical Center (MNATC) set up in Detroit, Michigan and the Mahindra Research Valley (MRV), in Chennai.
A highly experienced team of Studio Engineers helped the designers achieve some of the finer aspects of the Marazzo; the silhouette and surface detailing which provides a co-efficient of drag of 0.354, the tautly stretched body panels which display the Mahindra DNA of robustness while showing emotive quality & highlights, the offset parking brake design necessary to release storage space in between seats, sensitive smart detailing on the interiors to achieve a quantum leap in perceived quality, and attention to haptics on the infotainment screen with cap-sense and at all critical touch points.
The outcome of this project is not just a methodical conversion of the Voice of Customer (VOC) and the Design Brief, but a passionate and collaborative effort of many dedicated professionals across the globe; we at Mahindra Design are quite proud of the result.
Take a look at the gallery (right) for more sketches, detail pictures and images of the design process and its result.