Thursday, 18 July

Tigran Dreams of Designing Cars for Production in Armenia

Drawing Sketches While Serving in the Army

I met Tigran a year and half ago while in serving in the army. Their company was sent to our division on a visiting tour.

He was mainly addressed by his surname, Kharatyan, or more directly was called the “painter”. Automobile sketches, painted in the guy’s notebooks, did not impress me at first glance; I just figured the professional artist had a talented sketching hand. But very soon, when I was transferred to the company where he was serving, my opinion changed.

Tigran had a small collection of pictures, especially automobile sketches which, during his free time, were inseparable from him. He was so preoccupied with new ideas that he would even draw at night while other soldiers were asleep.

The following morning he would suddenly take the file out of the cabinet and show us a new sketch. When I asked when he had found the time to finish the sketch, he would smile and say, last night. He also had other interests. He would make wooden jewelry boxes and small musical instruments as souvenirs. But his main occupation was to create new automobile models.

According to his parents, Tigran started drawing at 3 or 4 years old, and his first drawing was a car. While studying at Center for Arts and Crafts and School of Fine Arts, his interest   towards cars grew. At the age of 12, he started building model cars made out of wood or paper. Later on he created his own designs.

Tigran is a painter and an educator by profession. He graduated from the Vanadzor Teachers’ Institute.  After his army discharge he studied at the Yerevan State university of Architecture and Construction to become an environmental designer, but his main goal was to become involved in auto manufacturing. While true that there is no auto manufacturing in Armenia, Tigran says that it is possible to start small scale manufacturing with a minimal of investment

“I have a series of models planned for production in Armenia. They are limited production sport cars that I think can be produced here for the local and foreign market. One is a light, two passenger sports car,   capable of being driven on sand. It’s suitable for a beach environment. The market for such a vehicle will be the UAE, Iran, and, why not, Turkey. I think there is no need for a large factory, because the production will be limited to only 20-25 cars per month, assembled by hand. “I will be happy if our local manufacturers put up the funds so that the automobile carry a ‘made in Armenia’ label,” says Tigran.

He develops these models with attention to all kinds of details – from exterior looks and interior cabin design, to their construction and functional features. On sketches and models of trucks and passenger cars, Tigran emphasizes special technology and innovation in order to find new design solutions.

Lately he has sent letters to foreign automobile manufacturers in Germany, Japan, Russia, and Ukraine. Car king BMW has invited him to bring his sketches to the company’s Munich headquarters. Others have responded in similar fashion. But the problem remains a lack of financial resources.

Tigran says automobile design contests are frequently held abroad. One of the conditions for participating is that designers appear in person. Again, it’s a question of finances.

Tigran is familiar with the work of successful Armenian automobile designer located abroad. He has never given up hope that similar success can be achieved right here in Armenia.

“It appears to me that this is a realistic plan. I am hopeful about establishing ties with foreign companies.  It will then be possible to organize the production in Armenia.   Low volume production does not require large investment. It will be less expensive than foreign production,” he says.

“I think the light sport model will become a hit with our young generation and car enthusiasts alike. In case of increased demand, we’ll expand into a line of different models and ratchet up production,”

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