Development of Specifications for the UM-D's Low Mass Vehicle for China, India and the United States 2005-01-1027
This paper presents results of a research project conducted to develop a methodology and to refine the specifications of a small, low mass, low cost vehicle being developed at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The challenge was to assure that the design would meet the needs and expectations of customers in three different countries, namely, China, India and the United States. U.S, Chinese and Indian students studying on the university campus represented customers from their respective countries for our surveys and provided us with the necessary data on: 1) Importance of various vehicle level attributes to the entry level small car customer, 2) Preferences to various features, and 3) Direction magnitude estimation on parameters to size the vehicle for each of the three markets. Our specification process involved: a) Development of a generic vehicle level Quality Function Deployment (QFD) analysis to relate customer needs to engineering attributes, b) Conducting a literature survey of various existing requirements and regulations on vehicles, c) Using importance ratings on various customer needs and vehicle attributes obtained from our subjects from the three countries, d) Sizing the vehicle for respective markets from the direction magnitude scaling, and e) Selecting base and optional feature content for the three markets from the customer ratings. The results of the analyses showed that: 1) Low vehicle cost emerged as the single most important vehicle level attribute from the QFD chart. 2) Fuel efficiency, durability and serviceability, from the customer importance rating survey, were the most important vehicle attributes, 3) One vehicle configuration would not be suitable for all the three markets without some modifications to satisfy the significant differences observed among the three countries. For example, a HVAC system was absolutely necessary to 94% of U.S. customers, but Indian customers had no need for it. Fog lamps were absolutely necessary to about 76% of Chinese customers but only less than 16% of U.S. customers and only about 6% of Indian Customers wanted them. 4) Indian customers wanted smaller wheelbase as compared to the U.S. and Chinese customers.