Interested to know your thoughts…
effectively its a mini tech tree that draws points from design studios instead of normal research offices and centers (so you can research a tech/process and a body design at the same time if you want).
I think this achieves the goal of regulating to some extent how rapidly you can research a new body style, and also adds a new facility to place in office areas to make for interesting layout choices. Plus it makes it easier to find where the body research items are.
Researching body design in the main gui unlocks the design facility for placement. The research button tooltip shows progress in both design and main tech research.
I was also thinking it might be a cool place to later add researchable special car paint colors etc?