LONDON, March 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The volume of heated front seats fitted to light vehicles annually in North America is forecast to rise from around 14.5m units in 2015, to 16.2m units by 2020, according to just-auto's research unit, QUBE.
Rising demand for SUVs has brought with it a surge in demand for seat heaters, according to QUBE research. Western Europe is also set to see a substantial increase over the same period, from 11.4m units to 12.4m. Further innovation has also led to seats that can be both heated and cooled.
The projections are part of just-auto's latest update of their QUBE car seating forecast, indicating rising production volumes ahead.
QUBE analyst Matthew Beecham, commenting on the forecast, said: "Car companies recognise that the touch and feel of the interior of the car - of which the seat is a major element - is a vital component of the customer experience of the brand.
"Different technologies are being used to create a cooled seat, but it is clearly emerging as something that customers are starting to demand in some parts of the world and it is the kind of tactile innovation that can help lift sales in a very competitive global marketplace."
Car seating is providing automotive designers and engineers with new opportunities to innovate inside the vehicle cabin.
QUBE research shows that premium brands will often include more comfort features such as additional soft foam, heated and cooled seats, vertically and horizontally adjustable lumbar, massage systems, adjustable cushion length, and adjustable bolsters. Sporty or performance brands will often use firmer seat foam, and more aggressive bolsters.
Innovations from major seat system suppliers are aimed at improving comfort and ergonomics, enhancing cabin flexibility and achieving cost savings. In addition, new seat designs can also result in much improved environmental performance, as well as the removal of weight to boost overall vehicle fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions.
Other forms of product innovation for car seats include designs for 'thinner' seats - which save weight and can improve rear legroom - and different seat fabrics, creating more breathable or more waterproof surfaces. There are even built-in fragrances designed to increase feelings of well-being.
"Nowadays, there is far more collaboration between seat engineers and vehicle designers in order to better match comfort and brand characteristics when designing new models", Beecham adds.
Rear seating has also been a focus for innovation. "The ability to transform the cabin to suit different needs remains a hot topic in the sport utility and minivans segments," maintains Beecham. "Suppliers are working hard to find more novel ways to collapse the rear seat rows and improve seating flexibility."
About just-auto and QUBE
just-auto.com exists to provide news, analysis and market intelligence to support the automotive industry. We are driven by a passion for an industry with a global turnover of €3 trillion that directly and indirectly supports 60 million jobs. We offer an independent voice with a global remit, championing automotive best practice wherever we find it.
In 2011 just-auto launched QUBE, the automotive database for the auto industry. Supported by a team of experienced automotive analysts, QUBE serves the automotive supply chain, providing them with OEM and supplier automotive competitive analysis, component sector forecasts, and automotive technology intelligence.
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SOURCE just-auto.com / QUBE