in general I prefer poly modeling over nurbs. but when i have to create some industrial design stuff which consists of soft shapes it is hard to get it right in polys. this is the time when i like nurbs
basically said it is a lot easier to do such things in nurbs because you are a lot more in control with the shapes. also with nurbs you have real nice tools to work with and block out soft shapes but keep it uniform in the same time. with polys you pretty fast end up moving verts around in order to keep something round... this is annoying often.
I start with curves most times, use a lattice on them to deform - I detach/attach a lot. also Project Curve on Surface and Duplicate Survace Curve. then I use loft/revolve - also latice on nurbs surfaces is important to me. rebuild curve/surface function is cool as well! what else? trim tool, birail tool and surface fillet. those tools make your life a lot easier with industrial design I swear it!
in the end I convert it to polys and tweak maybe more - especially edges with bevel or something.
hope that helped.
everything starts and ends in the right place at the right time.