It depends on how an organization sees the discipline. Is it value add or completing a task? A critical part of product definition or A side styling? A way the organization differentiates itself from the competition, or hey punk CAD this up?
As much as I like diving into the A side styling, it is gravy on the goose as they say.... no goose? Not interested. I want to play a key role in what the product is, what it does, who it is for, how it is made. Then the topical styling part is easy. If you are handed a festering turd of a product concept and mechanical layout there isn't much you can do. This is why car sketches always look hot but the end result is often a lumpy mess. The design function is divorced and in direct conflict from the part of the company that decides what it is, who it is for, and the mechanical layout. Atom smashing these disparate points of view together is rarely pleasant nor effective.