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Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering







Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The international car manufacturer Stellantis designs and produces vehicles for fourteen brands. Some brand characteristics satisfy both the European and North American market (e.g., Jeep), while others primarily target one market or the other. Efforts have been made recently to harmonize design and development processes within the global company. The cornerstone of this project is the subjective assessment procedure performed on the dynamic driving simulator, a newly developed technology that reduces time and cost during the development phase of a new car model. The technology can be used prior to the production of physical prototypes, allowing the assessment of handling and dynamic qualities continuously during the design phase as various parameters are changed. The purpose of the current research is to determine the most relevant differences in assessments as they are performed in Italy and in North America (i.e., Canada) and to understand the effect on vehicle design as it pertains to the location of the development processes.

It was found that the main discriminating factor among the drivers when performing the assessment of a vehicle in design phase is their sensitivity, or their ability to clearly identify the change in behaviour of a vehicle after the design of a component has been modified (e.g., the dampers). If the driver’s sensitivity is high enough, their next concern is to find a balance between the brand identity research (i.e., which kind of customers are targeted and their expectations towards the driving experience) and the safety of the customer (vehicles that are easier to maneuver for the average driver). Eventually, their individual preferences enter the picture; some people simply find sporty driving more appealing while others prefer a vehicle designed with a focus on better ride characteristics.