17 Automotive Designer Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an automotive designer, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Automotive designers create the look and feel of a car, inside and out. As an automotive designer, you’ll work with a team of engineers and other designers to create the concept for a new car model. Once the concept is approved, you’ll work on designing the exterior and interior of the car.

If you want to become an automotive designer, you’ll need to have a portfolio of your work to show to potential employers. You may also be asked to do a design exercise during the interview process. To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of sample automotive designer interview questions and answers.

Are you comfortable working with a team of engineers to create new vehicles?

The interviewer may ask this question to gauge your ability to collaborate with others. Your answer should show that you are a team player who is willing to work with other professionals to create innovative designs.

Example: “Yes, I have worked on several projects where I collaborated with engineers and other designers to develop new vehicles. In my last position, I was the lead designer for a project that involved working with an engineering team to design a new line of SUVs. My team and I had to consider many factors when designing these vehicles, including safety features, fuel efficiency and cost-effectiveness. We all contributed our ideas and feedback to ensure we were creating the best possible vehicle.”

What are some of the design principles you follow when creating a new vehicle?

This question can help the interviewer understand your design process and how you apply important principles to your work. You can answer this question by describing some of the most important principles and explaining how they helped you in a previous project.

Example: “I always start my designs with sketches, which are usually done on paper or digitally. I find that starting with sketches helps me think through the vehicle’s overall look and feel before moving into 3D modeling software. Once I have a solid sketch, I move into CAD modeling where I can add more details to the vehicle’s exterior and interior. After creating the digital model, I use it as a reference for physical models made from clay.”

How would you improve the look or feel of a current vehicle?

This question can help interviewers understand your design process and how you might apply it to their company. Use examples from past projects or experiences to explain how you would improve the look of a vehicle’s interior, exterior or overall feel.

Example: “I recently worked on a project where I had to redesign an older model car into a newer one. The client wanted to keep the same feel as the original but update the color scheme and add more modern features. I started by looking at the current models that were similar in style and function. Then, I looked at what other companies were doing with their designs and incorporated those elements into my own. In the end, we created a new model that was very similar to the old but updated for today.”

What is your process for creating a 3D model of a vehicle?

This question can help the interviewer understand your design process and how you apply your skills to a project. Use examples from past projects to describe your steps for creating a 3D model, including what software you use and how you integrate customer feedback into your designs.

Example: “I start by researching the client’s brand and vehicle type to determine which elements I should include in my initial sketches. Then, I create rough sketches of each side of the vehicle, including the front, back and sides. Next, I combine these sketches into one digital file that I can use to create a 3D model using CAD software. After this step, I review the model with the client to make any necessary changes.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to work with a tight budget. How did you stay within it?

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your budgeting skills and how you can work within a company’s financial constraints. When answering, try to provide an example that highlights your ability to create designs with limited resources while still maintaining quality.

Example: “In my last position as an automotive designer, I had to design a car for a client who wanted the exterior to be made of carbon fiber but didn’t want to spend much money on it. To stay within our budget, we used lightweight materials like aluminum and plastic in other parts of the vehicle where they wouldn’t be seen by customers. We also worked with the client to find ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.”

If hired, what type of vehicle would you like to design first?

This question is a great way to see if you have any automotive design experience. If you don’t, it’s okay to say that you would like to start with something simple and work your way up. This shows the interviewer that you are willing to learn and take on new challenges.

Example: “I’ve always been interested in designing sports cars, so I would love to get started on one of those first. I know they’re more complicated than other vehicles, but I’m ready for the challenge.”

What would you do if you were given free rein to design any vehicle you wanted, but the company only wanted to produce the vehicle you designed half of?

This question is a test of your creativity and problem-solving skills. It’s also an opportunity to show the interviewer that you can work within constraints, which is often necessary in design. In your answer, explain how you would use your creativity to create a vehicle that was aesthetically pleasing but still met the company’s budget requirements.

Example: “I would first ask my client what their budget limitations were. Then I would brainstorm ideas for vehicles that could be produced at that price point. If there are any features they want that are outside of the budget, I would find ways to incorporate them into the vehicle without increasing costs too much. For example, if they wanted a sleek exterior with lots of storage space, I might suggest a boxy shape with large windows on the sides so it looks more streamlined.”

How well do you understand the safety regulations that apply to the vehicles you design?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the regulations that apply to automotive design and how you use them in your work. Use examples from past projects where you applied safety regulations to your designs or helped others do so.

Example: “I understand the importance of designing vehicles according to safety regulations, as it’s a crucial part of my job. In my last role, I worked with an engineer who was developing a new vehicle model. He didn’t know all of the relevant safety regulations, so I helped him find the information he needed. We used the information to ensure our vehicle met all applicable standards.”

Do you have experience using computer-aided design software?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience level with computer-aided design software. If you have previous experience using CAD software, share what programs you’ve used and how comfortable you are working with them. If you don’t have any experience using CAD software, explain that you’re eager to learn the program if hired for the position.

Example: “I have worked with AutoCAD in my last two positions as an automotive designer. I find it easy to use once I get familiar with the interface. I also enjoy learning new features of the software when they update it.”

When designing a vehicle, what is your process for determining the size and shape of the interior?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to understand how you apply your design skills to the automotive industry. Your answer should show that you have experience with designing vehicles and their interiors, as well as how you use your creativity to create unique designs for each project.

Example: “I start by researching the client’s brand and what they want from their vehicle. I also consider the target audience of the vehicle and any specific features or elements that need to be included in the interior. For example, if the vehicle is designed for long road trips, then it needs plenty of legroom and storage space. If the vehicle is meant for families, then there will likely be more seating options available. After determining these factors, I sketch out several different ideas for the size and shape of the interior.”

We want to make our vehicles more recognizable. How would you design our brand identity into a vehicle?

An employer may ask this question to see how you can apply your design skills to a company’s brand identity. Use examples from previous projects that show how you incorporated the client’s brand into your designs and helped create recognizable vehicles for their brands.

Example: “I have worked with many clients who want their vehicles to be instantly recognizable as part of their brand. For example, I once worked on a project where my client wanted their vehicle to look like an octopus. We used bright colors and unique shapes to make sure the vehicle was instantly recognizable as part of their brand. The shape of the vehicle also reflected the nature of the brand, which made it more memorable.”

Describe your process for determining the color scheme of a vehicle.

The interviewer may ask you this question to gauge your creativity and problem-solving skills. Your answer should show that you can use your creativity to create a color scheme for a vehicle while also considering the client’s preferences.

Example: “I start by looking at the brand of the car, as well as its target audience. I then consider what colors are popular in the automotive industry right now. After that, I look at the exterior design of the vehicle and decide which colors would complement it best. Finally, I take into account the client’s preferences when choosing the final color scheme.”

What makes you the best candidate for this job?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills you have that are relevant to this role. Focus on highlighting your most impressive skills and explaining why they’re important for this job.

Example: “I am an extremely organized person who is always looking for ways to improve my organization methods. I also have experience with 3D modeling software, which would allow me to create designs faster than other designers. My attention to detail is another skill that makes me a great candidate for this position because it allows me to notice small changes that could impact the final product.”

Which vehicle designs do you admire?

This question can help the interviewer learn more about your design style and how you apply it to vehicles. Use examples from your portfolio or discuss a vehicle that you would have designed differently if given the chance.

Example: “I admire the designs of Tesla, especially their Model S P100D. The sleek lines and unique exterior make this car stand out in the market. I also like the way BMW has been designing its i3 models. They’re very eco-friendly and use recycled materials for the interior. In my own work, I try to incorporate these elements into my designs.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of automotive design?

This question is a great way to assess the candidate’s knowledge of automotive design. It also allows you to see how they prioritize their work and what skills they value most in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention specific aspects that are important for your own work or those that are especially relevant to the job.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of automotive design is safety. I know that many people rely on vehicles to get them from place to place safely, so designing cars that are safe for drivers and passengers is something I take very seriously. I always make sure my designs meet all safety standards before presenting them to clients.”

How often do you update your portfolio with new designs?

Employers want to know that you’re constantly learning and improving your skills. They may ask this question to see if you have a portfolio of work, how often you update it and what kind of content is included. In your answer, share the process you use for keeping your portfolio up-to-date and showcase any recent projects or designs you’ve completed.

Example: “I try to add at least one new design to my portfolio every month. I find that this helps me stay motivated and inspired while also giving me an opportunity to reflect on my past work. When updating my portfolio, I look back over all of my previous designs and decide which ones I would like to improve or redesign.”

There is a new design trend that you don’t agree with. How do you handle it?

This question is a great way to see how you handle conflict and disagreement. It also shows the interviewer that you are willing to stand up for your ideas, even if they differ from those of others. In your answer, be sure to show that you can disagree respectfully and work with others to find solutions.

Example: “I recently saw an advertisement for a new car model where the company was using a lot of bright colors on the exterior. I think this is a bad idea because it will make the cars harder to spot in low light conditions. When I noticed this trend, I spoke with my manager about it. We agreed that we would not use these colors on our models until there were better headlights available.”


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