How to become an Automotive plastic design expert?

How to become an Automotive plastic design expert?

How to become an automotive designer
Nagaraja Kulkarni

Table of Contents

Are you a person who loves cars and knows a lot about them? Then you might be the kind of individual that is perfect for this profession.

Becoming an automotive plastic design expert can be achieved through a combination of education, training, experience, and hard work.

Education It is important to have a degree in automotive / mechanical engineering or a related field, as this will give you the knowledge and understanding of the different aspects of industrial design.


Undergoing training in the area of automotive plastic trims will be an added advantage as you gain required knowledge, standards and best practises from an experience trainer.You will need to be able to apply this knowledge to create high-quality designs that meet the specific needs of the automotive industry.

Additionally, you will need to have experience working with plastic materials and manufacturing processes.

And finally hard work is one of the most important things you can do to land in a dream job in one of the top automotive OEM or their supplier.

So the question now is, “How do I get started to become an automotive plastic designer?”  Insight provided by this article will help you reach your goal.

What are Automotive trims?

A car consists more than 30,000 parts which are broadly grouped under Body In White, closures, trims, Powertrain and transmission.

BIW : Body In White or simply BIW is the sheet metal body of a vehicle welded together before assembling any moving parts.The BIW structure holds all other systems in a vehicle.

Trims : In a car the trim is everything that is decorative and doesn’t contribute to the function of the vehicle but enhances the aesthetic and cool factor.There are both exterior and interior trims.

Automotive plastic trims
Air Vent Panel

Air Vent Panel

Steering Wheel

Steering Wheel

Driver Seat

Steering Wheel

Instrument Panel

Instrument Panel

Door Trims

Door Trims

Parcel Shelf

Parcel Shelf

Floor Mat

Floor Mat

What skills are required to design Automotive plastic parts?

  • Expertise in any of the leading Computer Aided Design (CAD) software
  • Know how of Computer Aided Engineering Software
  • Know-how of Plastic parts manufacturing process
  • Knowledge of Computer Aided Manufacturing is added advantage
  • Domain knowledge

What are the career opportunities for an Automotive Plastic Designer?

The automotive industry is becoming a leading player in plastics manufacturing and its growth has been unprecedented over the last few years.

There are many opportunities for you to work in the automotive industry, both in the OEMs that produce new vehicles and their suppliers that produce millions of parts for them. As the leading force in the world, the auto industry requires design skills that are often unique.
In addition to OEMs, and their suppliers, there are plenty of job opportunities in engineering design services companies that provide the design as a service for automotive majors.

What is the career path of a design engineer in the Automotive industry?

  1. Trainee Design Engineer — Fresh graduate
  2. Junior Design Engineer — One to two years of design experience
  3. Design Engineer / Senior Design Engineer — Two to six years of experience and individual contributor
  4. Design Lead — More than six years of design and team lead experience
  5. Project Manager — Eight to twelve years of experience in handling projects and teams
  6. Program manager — Mid-level management role
  7. R&D Head — Mid to top-level management role

Plastic design engineer career is a great choice if you enjoy working on a wide variety of projects and want to see your work being used on many types of vehicles.

Nagaraja Kulkarni
Product Designer
Experienced Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the mechanical or industrial engineering industry. Skilled in Product Design , Teamcenter, Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing, Sheet Metal, good knowledge on cad tools


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  1. Hi Nagaraja,
    How about plastic part design in health care/ life sciences sector?
    Is it possible if I want to move to automobile sector in future?

    1. Plastic part design in the healthcare/life sciences sector can be a rewarding career path. This field often involves designing components for medical devices, laboratory equipment, and other healthcare-related products. It requires a strong understanding of materials science, particularly with respect to plastics, as well as knowledge of the specific requirements and regulations of the healthcare industry.

      If you’re considering a future move to the automobile sector, the skills you acquire in plastic part design can certainly be transferable. The automobile industry also utilizes a significant amount of plastic components in vehicle design for parts such as interiors, light casings, and more. Your experience in the healthcare/life sciences sector could provide a unique perspective and potentially innovative approaches to challenges in the automotive industry.

      However, it’s important to note that each industry has its own specific standards and regulations. While the fundamental skills of plastic part design can transfer between industries, you may need to learn new guidelines and standards if you transition from healthcare to automotive.

      In conclusion, starting your career in plastic part design in the healthcare/life sciences sector can provide a solid foundation. If you decide to transition to the automobile sector in the future, your skills will be valuable, but be prepared to adapt to the specific needs and regulations of the new industry. Continuous learning and adaptability are key in any successful career transition.

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