Larte Design Tunes Up World’s Hottest Cars: Pt. 1

There are those people who can afford top of the line cars, crossovers and SUVs. Then, there is a smaller poll pf people who can afford to pay tuning kit companies like Larte Design to enhance those vehicles and elevate them above their sisters on the road.

Larte Design is a European luxury tuning company specializing in the personalization of premium SUVs. It jumped on my radar as I walked the floor of the LA Auto Show – not long after Larte introduced its latest tuning kit for the Lexus LX 570 – Alligator. I soon explored the entire Larte Design product range and discovered all the company does is make good looking rides look that much better.

The company specializes in the customization of Infiniti, Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz SUVs. As Larte’s own PR puts it, “The tuning kit packages are designed to help auto aficionados express individuality and personal style to front bumpers, radiator grilles and exhaust systems.”

Related: LA Auto Show 2014: Fiat 500X

To learn more about the world of upmarket tuning kits, I caught up with U.S. Sales Manager Roman Pitsil amidst the LA Auto Show fuss for an extended interview.

Crave Online: What is the target market for these kits? Enthusiasts? What age? Income level?

Roman Pitsil: Each LARTE Design body kit has a slightly different target market. For instance, Infiniti QX60 and QX70 body kits’ are typically bought by men in their early to mid 40s with household incomes of about $300,000, while women of the same age and income are the target audience for body kits for the Range Rover Evoque. Tuning for Mercedes GL and Infiniti QX80 attract an older demographic, both men and women who are between 40 and 50 years of age with household incomes of about $700,000. Lastly, Lexus Alligator targets affluent men 45-60.

So our clients might vary by their age, sex, income or family status, but what they all have in common is the desire to see their car reflect their individuality, taste, lifestyle and sense of beauty.

How do you select which makes and models you’ll make kits for there?

The selection of the car model for which we will create a tuning kit is somehow a creative and spontaneous process, at least to a certain extent. I look at a car and see if and how we can enrich its design with more underlines and accentuate its character. Of course we do not choose the model entirely by inspiration. We also try to consider the popularity of the car model among buyers and the willingness of their target audience to try a new bold design.

So while the selection of the model for tuning is relatively easy, the creation of the design is a complex multistage process which requires joint efforts of highly professional designers and engineers.

Everything begins with sketches. Sketches of the new cars with tuning parts are developed by our own studio designers. We choose only one sketch out of several presented and rework it again and again until we get the one that fits the car concept best. Then our designers bring the concept to life taking into account all the technical features of the car. In contrast to the bold experiments in car design that strike the imagination on paper only, the drafts of tuning parts are precise and specific and fully reflect what the car will look like after their installation.

When the draft has been approved, the next stage can begin. All original parts are removed and replaced by improved tuning parts. The specialists mark the tuned fixing points and the location of the onboard of standard systems that provide the safety system.

Starting the detailed prototype, the Desktop Publisher takes over. It is time to study the sketch of sculpture clay. The next step of production is the elaboration of drawings by modeling it on sculpture clay. The parts of the new tuning set are molded directly on the car in order to visualize its future image. This is time-consuming and a rather difficult process. The real bumpers and spoilers take exactly the same form and dimensions as the clay samples.

Of course there are more modern techniques, such as 3D-modeling and production on machines with advanced software. However, experience shows that perfect result cannot be achieved with such an approach. No wonder supercars are still produced manually.

Only after final approval of the prototype the production of the master model and then the production of the tuning set begin.

As you see whatever car is chosen for tuning the process of design is very complicated and time-consuming. The process can take up to 6 months. But this comprehensive design elaboration allows us to guarantee the satisfaction of the most demanding customers.

Be sure to look out for part two of our look at Larte Designs.