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Fashion World Exerting Influence over Auto Interiors

Lear shows off latest designs, innovations with fashion show.

by on Oct.25, 2013

Lear's TeXstyle Enhance was featured in a fashion show in Detroit showcasing what the company's designers can do with leather and other fabrics.

The world of fashion is reaching deeper into vehicles where every piece of the car of truck’s interior has to be used to raise its profile and make it more appealing to customers.

“We’re seeing manufacturers think increasingly of using the interior of the vehicle as way to differentiate their products,” said Mandy Sarotte, Lear Corp. vice president of global trim operations for seating, who is also in charge of the company’s growing team of designers.

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Sarotte added demand for more distinctive interiors and more durable seat covers is evident in all kinds of passenger cars from subcompact to more expensive luxury vehicles. Customers in every segment are looking for something distinctive, she said. (more…)

That New Car Smell Could Make You Sick

New study names least toxic automobiles.

by on Feb.15, 2012

The Honda Civic interior has been faulted by some critics - but won praise from the Ecology Center for its lack of potentially dangerous chemicals.

There’s something about that new car smell.  Unfortunately, while some folks love the scent of a vehicle that’s just rolled out of the showroom the volatile chemicals found in many automotive interiors can make others quite ill.

So, a new study is naming names and pointing fingers, identifying the 2012 Honda Civic as the safest automotive interior, while listing the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport as the vehicle most likely to make you sick.

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“Automobiles function as chemical reactors, creating one of the most hazardous environments we spend time in,” says Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center.

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Interiors: Mousey to Rainbow to Mousey Again

Auto interiors are reverting to the “yoostabees” of the past.

by on Feb.01, 2010

The original Highlander interior trim package.

My eyes were drawn to the model designation on a Toyota’s tailgate in front of me: Highlander.

How Toyota ever came by the name of a popular, colorful Chrysler model of the 1940s, I wondered.  However, it also reminded me of the dullness of current car interiors compared to those of cars a few decades ago.

I once wrote a series of articles that I labeled “yoostabees” – taking off from current auto news to reminisce about cars of the past, how things “used to be.”  It is time for Yoostabees to reappear.

Interior of a restored 1935 Ford Deluxe Trunk Sedan at the Michigan Firehouse Museum.

So, it “yoostabee” that automobile interiors were, well, mousey: fuzzy grey or brown fabric seat covers and interior door panels.  The interior of a restored 1935 Ford Deluxe Trunk Sedan at the Michigan Firehouse Museum in Ypsilanti is typical of the era.  Further, most cars featured stamped metal instrument panels painted brown with striping intended to look like wooden panels.

According to auto historian Jeff Godshall, who before retiring led the interior design team for Chrysler’s PT Cruiser, “Regarding the change from mousy to colorful, certainly one of the first examples was Gordon Buehrig’s masterpiece, the 1936 front-drive-wheel drive Cord 810.

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“Buyers of a grey Westchester sedan with dark blue broadcloth upholstery, for example, received dark blue seats, door trim panels, carpet and headliner. This alone was radically different, but in addition, the piping on the seat cushions and backs was a contrasting light grey, as was the piping accenting the headliner roof bows. The steering wheel and column, as well as the window crank knobs were also light grey. This completely color-coordinated interior fit well with the Cord’s “art moderne” exterior.

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