The folks over at Complex recently took a tour of Mercedes-Benz’s design center in Stuttgart, where they learned about some really exciting interior projects that the luxury automaker has in the works. Among them, Mercedes-Benz is planning on trimming its interiors with granite veneers and upholstering its seats in silk, cashmere and fur.
Archive for July, 2011
If you’re a regular reader of The Hog Ring, then you know automakers are trimming their interiors in some pretty odd materials these days. Ford is using recycled jeans pants, Toyota is using sugarcane, and Nissan – believe it or not – is using water bottles. Now we can add Hyundai to the list – as Ward’s Auto reports the new Accent and Elantra will feature trim made from volcanic rock.
Auto trimmers know what goes into restoring and custom fabricating a car’s interior. But did you ever wonder what an automaker goes through to design it in the first place? Toronto’s Metro published an interesting piece today about Mercedes-Benz’s development process for the 2012 M-Class SUV’s interior cabin. As you’ll read, the level of R&D that goes into designing one of these things is “huge”.
Speaking of eco-friendly car interiors, the upcoming 2012 Ford Focus is set to feature upholstery made from recycled jeans pants – not in the seats, but as carpet backing and sound absorption material.
If your auto trim shop is anything like mine, then you’re constantly replacing convertible tops because of separated window seals. You know what I’m talking about – when the bonding between a canvas top and glass window detaches. Until now, there was very little you could do about it.
Until recently, the scope of eco-friendly cars was limited to those that are good on gas or run on an alternative source of power (like electricity). However, recent innovations have extended the definition of what is eco-friendly to cars that are composed of natural and recycled materials – both outside and in. Dave Roos of the Discovery Channel recently published a short, but interesting, piece on how automakers are thinking outside of the box to make car interiors greener than ever before. Toyota is using sugarcane instead of plastic. Ford is using soy foam instead of polyurethane foam. And Land Rover is tanning its leather with vegetables, not chromium sulfate.
Aside from the lame dance music, the above video is chock full of inspiring photos of vehicle interiors. Though most are of concept cars, they’re very telling of the direction in which automakers are taking our field. Groundbreaking technology and materials, combined with new fabrication techniques, have opened the door to some pretty exciting innovations.
It’s always interesting to read about other auto trim shops – especially the challenges that they face and the opportunities they’re presented with. In the field of auto upholstery, there’s a lot we can learn from one another – which is exactly why shop profiles, like this one about Johnny’s Auto Trim, are so helpful.
Ted Stillwell of The Leavenworth Times, a local newspaper in Kansas, recently glanced through a periodical that was published in 1933 to learn about life during the Great Depression. Among the many articles he read, one was about a fella who, to save money, made his own convertible top for a Ford Model-T… out of cowhide.