DETROIT, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Chevrolet Malibu seat performance engineers Daniel Cohen and Cheryl Hajciar know more about keeping hindquarters happy than a good masseuse.
Cohen and Hajciar are tasked with ensuring that customers of all shapes and sizes get maximum comfort when sitting in the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. They use high-tech tools and real-world ride evaluations to deliver the best-possible seat comfort for Malibu customers around the world.
The 2013 Malibu seats were designed with input from engineers and designers around the world. The European team designed the seat and engineers from North America and Asia enhanced them to match consumer comfort requirements in their respective regions.
Cohen works in the lab at General Motors' seat comfort testing facility in Milford, Mich. He used state-of-the-art digital pressure-mapping technology to scan the rear-end impressions of people of all shapes and sizes.
The system takes a snapshot of a person's back and rear-end pressure distribution over the seat surface, creating a map with more than 4,600 data points. The information is transferred to a laptop computer that generates graphics illustrating how occupants sit in the seat statically or while driving.
Complementing seat-pressure mapping, Cohen also uses a rear-end test machine that simulates the effects of seat force and deflection through various sized buttock-shaped plates. They are made of aluminum and can weigh up to 250 pounds.
"This test allows us to understand how far a customer will compress into the seat to ensure the selected seat foam and other materials can support the pressure," said Cohen. "We want to find the sweet spot of seat comfort: a seat that is neither too firm nor too soft, but just right."
While Cohen's job is in a laboratory, Hajciar works on the road. She coordinates Malibu seat ride evaluations with several volunteers, spending hundreds of hours logging thousands of miles to ensure she gets sufficient feedback on seat prototypes.
"Our seat evaluators often ride long distances to achieve our mission of creating the most-comfortable seat possible," said Hajciar. "We are being meticulous about the details so that when customers get behind the wheel of a 2013 Malibu, they'll immediately feel the difference."
The new Malibu will be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents. It is available in LS, LT, ECO and LTZ models in North America, depending on the model. Malibu production in the United States is scheduled to begin in early 2012 with the ECO model. Malibu will be built in multiple locations around the globe, including the Fairfax, Kan. and Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plants in the United States. Pricing will be announced later this year.
Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com
SOURCE General Motors