Why does every car designer start a private firm?

I’ve been noticing this more and more as I’ve been researching whether or not this is a good major to go into. It seems like a trend almost…work in the industry for 5-10 years, open up John Smith Design which has a staff of 3-4 people (if that). I understand why anyone would want to start their own business, but I can’t imagine having your OWN automotive car consultancy would be very…profitable? Without the proper funding, wouldn’t it be next to impossible to do anything worthwhile?

I would assume the ego has something to do with the trend.

You would be surprised at the work that ends up at these firms. They are not equipped to do an entire vehicle, but they are perfect to do quick ideation and detail work. I know of two transport design consultants in Quebec that survive just on concept work.

The tough question is why a car/motorcycle/whatever company with a huge design staff has to hire a consultant…?

The thing is big companies tend to outsource almost anything. They outsource even their engine R&D or drivetrain to expert companies like Ricardo or ZF. I know a company that does especially engine timing equipment. Or Bosch does almost all the injectors in the world and many other things.
I believe beyond a size it becomes impossible to control everything, so they outsource. This way if things go wrong they can charge the contractors. Where I live there is a big industry just based on doing outsourcing stuff to 1-2 big companies. Even simplest things are being outsourced.

I don’t know how true it is, but car and toy design are supposed to have the highest burnout rates.
perhaps running a small business is the next best / only option…?

I can’t speak for toys, but I know burnout is a problem all over the car industry, not just in design. The problem is that the demands are high and it attracts very driven people who don’t know how to balance there life. Very important lesson there!

Troy Sumitomo is doing quite well running Five Axis, he is the the go-to guy for many of the major car companies.