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  1. Interview
January 19, 2022

2022 Outlook – Q&A with CALLUM

In the latest of our series of sector outlook interviews, we take the temperature from the industry on highlights of the year just gone and prospects for the year ahead. Here, we hear from CALLUM’s David Fairbairn (managing director).

By David Leggett

CALLUM is a design and engineering business led by ex-Jaguar design chief Ian Callum. Based in Warwick, UK, it creates bespoke and limited-edition products.

David Fairbairn

JA: 2021 was another memorable year for everyone and for all sorts of reasons. We had a bumpy recovery from the worst of the Covid pandemic, but the automotive industry was also hammered by a shortage of semiconductor parts. In your business, what stands out as the biggest challenges you faced over the past year?

DF: 2021 was a very challenging time but also one of opportunities. As a niche design and engineering business, we saw a number of projects we were working on stopped or paused. This stop/start nature is extremely difficult when growing a business and building the workflow to keep the very talented team we have. This motivated us to look beyond automotive and achieve one of our original objectives of supporting clients in other sectors. It also enabled us to put some of our resources into CALLUM’s own projects.

Another challenge was working to the government restrictions but enabling the creativity that fuels a design business. I would have loved for our growing team to have more time together.

Any high spots or particular successes you’d like to share?

A lot! We announced exciting projects and saw some come to life, such as our support of Prodrive with the exterior design of its BRX T1 car that took on the 2021 Dakar Rally. We also pushed on with the development of the CALLUM Vanquish 25 project, designed and built a concept for a modular urban mobility hub and, as mentioned, we also looked beyond automotive. That included revealing our own design for a contemporary lounge chair. It was extremely well received, leading us to put it into a limited production run. On top of that, we worked with the British Bobsled team and have commenced some really interesting automotive and non-automotive programmes that will be revealed in 2022.

I’m also very proud of some of the partnerships we have nurtured, collaborating to ultimately create something better. Partnerships such as the one with Prodrive, and additive manufacturer MakerBot, there are a lot more to follow,  that I am looking forward to announcing next year.

How are you feeling about 2022 – both in terms of business prospects and more generally?

I am excited about this year. As mentioned, we have a number of longer terms projects that will be revealed in 2022, some we have been working on for a long time, so it will be good that they will finally become public. They will highlight how far CALLUM has come since being formed less than three years ago, underlining that CALLUM isn’t just a design and engineering business for automotive – the skills and experience to design and build – are applicable and can make a difference elsewhere.

Is anything emerging as a particular concern in terms of the outlook?

Customers like stability and that is something that would drive confidence and lead to growth. We are keeping an eye on raw material prices as even small changes can affect niche, low volume projects. This has a flip side too; it’s leading us to look for alternatives, often with an eye to be more sustainable. That’s exciting as we are bringing new experiences, textures and emotional involvement to our projects.

Do you have a message for Just Auto’s readers?

From everyone at CALLUM, we would like to pass our best wishes for a safe and healthy future ahead. Keep your eyes peeled for all our exciting projects that will be revealed throughout 2022.

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