Car manufacturers are probably the most respected employers in the world. In fact, major automotive companies are always among the Top10 potential employers in Germany and it is easy to understand why. Car manufacturers are always trying to improve ergonomics and safety in the workplace, are reliable, and stable. And they pay higher salaries than the average. However, some of the jobs in the auto industry are a little odd.

When you imagine yourself working at an automotive plant, you think you would be sitting by a computer all day or actually assembling cars. But there is much more to it than you’d imagine. SEAT, a Spanish car manufacturer, just revealed the five strangest professions in the automotive industry. While they are bizarre and probably not included in the dreams of people seeking to work in the industry, these jobs are crucial to a successful car manufacturer.

It takes 2,500 kilos of clay and up to 10,000 hours of scraping to create a single clay model. Image credit: SEAT

The clay sculptor. Before a new model enters production, it has to be perfected in many ways. And of course, a majority of the designing process is carried out by computers. However, when car designers reach a certain stage in the process they need to see the end product in flesh – in a brown muddy flesh, to be precise. So they make life-sized clay models of the cars which they are going to produce.

The process requires 2,500 kilos of clay, giant CNC machines to sculpt it and a human sculptor, who may spend 10,000 hours patient scraping it. It is a tedious yet very important task, because clay models essentially lock the design. It is the last opportunity to fix mistakes and see how the car will look like when it hits the streets. One could just wonder if no one did a clay model of the Fiat Multipla…

Each car is driven on various surfaces to detect unwanted noises. Image credit: SEAT

The first driver. When the car is finished, it might as well be handed straight to its new owner. However, no one knows if all these parts have lined up correctly. So a new car has to be tested. Specialized drivers test them in six different types of pavement, including cobblestones and uneven surfaces in order to detect unpleasant noises that the car might be making. The first drivers also test horns, lights, brakes and other essential components.

You didn’t know those exist, did you? The job of a car sommelier is to ensure that pleasant new-car aroma. Image credit: SEAT

Car sommeliers. Sommelier, of course, is an expert at fine wines. One of the ways of experiencing these fermented beverages is smelling them. You know where I’m going with this. Car sommeliers are responsible for the smells in a new vehicle. They have to test every material used in the interior of the car, to try and detect unpleasant smells until the owners get to enjoy them.

The process involves heating up the car, or separate elements of it, to temperatures around 60 degrees Celsius. Then people smell those different materials and evaluate their odour. Car sommeliers cannot smoke or wear perfume, and they perform over 400 tests in the SEAT factory every year. Like that new car smell? Now you know who is responsible for it.

Seat design takes a lot of trial and error. Image credit: SEAT

The seat tester. Everyone who gets into a car uses its seats (unless it is some sort of hostage situation we don’t want to talk about). And so they have to be very comfortable. SEAT employs specialists who test various materials, padding configurations, seat shapes and so on. People of all shapes and sizes must feel comfortable in the car. Also, seats have to be safe in case of accidents – headrests have to be designed and tested to provide maximum support in case of an accident.

30 metres of seams are needed to fully upholster an entire car. Image credit: SEAT

The car tailor. The car interior is constructed out of many different pieces of fabric and leather. Imagine endless colour combinations and you will get why SEAT worries so much about car tailors. They are responsible for making the interior look and feel nice. Everything you touch has to ooze quality. It is such a big task that these creations are actually crafted two years in advance before a new model is introduced to the market.

There are many different professions involved in making a car. Nowadays, car factories look like laboratories with  research rooms and various experiments. People with lab coats walk around automotive plants every day and electron microscopes surprise no one. Wouldn’t you want to be a car sommelier? That would be something cool to brag about at parties.


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