Karl Greenberg, a journalist for Marketing Daily, recently described car seats as “the Rodney Dangerfield of consideration points…if it’s good, you don’t notice it; if it’s bad, you won’t buy the car, regardless of how great the other features are”.
For years, perceptions like this kept car interiors and the industries behind them at bay. Because the public was more concerned with avoiding lemons than comfort and ergonomics, vehicle interiors took a backseat to mechanics and build quality. Automakers didn’t rush to innovate and car owners didn’t ask. The only ones left holding the torch were auto trimmers – who saw their craft under appreciated and devalued.
That, however, is quickly changing.
Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates, recently told Marketing Daily that automakers are starting to pay more attention to their vehicles’ interiors because it’s one of the few remaining places they’re able to compete.
[V]ehicle quality is no longer the major differentiator it was, as the differences between vehicles in that regard have become razor thin. VanNieuwkuyk points out that now — as most vehicles are equally well built — quality is an expectation, not an option. “So shoppers are now looking at other things. And since consumers now spend about 18.5 hours per week in their cars, interior is now number two; it plays a major role…
“Most of us, in our homes, have a favorite seat; in a vehicle the driver’s seat has to be a favorite seat as well. So there’s an opportunity in the industry to do something different, to create excitement. To do something breakthrough and draw some product attention.” [more]
In other words, car interiors finally matter; and the amount of opportunities this presents to those who design, build, repair and customize them is limitless. Best of all, the more interested in and focused on car interiors consumers become, the more appreciation and value they’ll have for our craft.
It’s about damn time – that’s for sure!