Last month, we wrote about the disappearance of car ashtrays. Well it looks like CD players may soon be out too. Michael Arbaugh, chief designer for Ford interiors, recently told the Automotive Press Association that eliminating CD players from car interiors will reduce weight, help automakers inch towards stricter fuel economy standards and free up room on the dash for newer technology.
The Detroit Free Press explains:
[Eliminating CD players] would eliminate about five pounds and would free up critical space on the center stack where technology is offering other choices, said Arbaugh, chief designer for Ford interiors.
Behind the interface, a CD player competes for space with heating and cooling units and other technology.
“That’s oceanfront property when you are talking about the center stack,” Arbaugh said. “I think anybody under 30 is probably using all MP3 devices. They don’t buy CDs.”
To the average person, five pounds might not seem like a lot for a car that weighs 2,000 pounds or more.
But for designers like Arbaugh, knowing when to eliminate something like a CD player is a critical decision — especially as automakers race to meet tougher fuel economy standards.
For nearly 30 years, the government’s fuel economy standards did not change significantly. Now by 2016, the U.S. fleet average for automakers must reach 34.1 miles per gallon, up from 27.5 m.p.g. for passenger cars in 2010 and 23.5 m.p.g. for light trucks. [more]
That’s not the only change planned for vehicle interiors. Automakers are experimenting with new fabrics, materials, layouts and designs to save weight. They’re even combining electronics so that one interface controls a multitude of interior features – like seat position, heated seats and lighting.
As is always the case, auto trimmers and custom fabricators who regularly navigate these features to get their jobs done will need to update their skills accordingly.