Take a look at how car seats are assembled by the manufacturers in this video clip by the popular TV series “How It’s Made.” The episode follows a first-tier supplier as it assembles front and rear seating intended for a Mini Cooper.
Of course, we’ve all assembled seats at our auto upholstery shops – but you’ve never seen it done like this. Traveling on an assembly line, the seats never spend more than 88 seconds at each of the 60 work stations along their journey to completion. A vehicle’s two-row seating – including frame, tracks, airbag, heaters, wiring harness, foam and upholstery – can be finished in just 62 minutes.
Take note of the unique tools and techniques used in the process, such as ironing the covers to eliminate wrinkles.
That would drive me mad
Adams Auto Upholstery says
I feel like that some days!
This video does nothing to inform the general public about automotive seating or upholstery. It mentioned that the industry started in the 1800s and evolved. Then it shows a bunch of people dividing up the task of installing pre-sewn covers. How incredibly boring and uninformative! Not that I don’t appreciate you writing the story, Naseem. I really do because it shows us what we’re up against in educating the public about the incredibly complex world of automotive interiors and the talent and experience necessary to master it.
rich santana says
Jim, I disagree. They said there were 60 employees on that line..That’s a good indication of how many man hours it takes just to install a set of covers. That’s a lot of hats we wear. Not including fixing foam, making foam, patterning, sewing up the covers… But, I do agree, if you’re wanting to show a customer just what it takes for a custom set, then that’s another story.
Naseem Muaddi says
You guys raise good points. However, I didn’t post this video to educate the general public about automotive seating. Instead, I wanted to educate trimmers about how car seats are assembled in the factories. I would have like to have seen how the covers were cut and sewn but this was just an assembly plant, not a manufacturer.
Adams Auto Upholstery says
Hey Naseem – I wasn’t talking about the intent of your article, but rather the effect of the “How’s it Made” video on the television audience. How auto upholsterers are perceived by the general public is an area that has always interested me, and this Discover Channel program has a general audience, so it contributes to the way people see us.
Rich – you make a good point about 60 individual work stations representing how many steps go into the process. It does make it seem like a fairly complex procedure, but the assembly line certainly kills the sense of creativity that we all use. Don’t you think?
I wish the program would have talked more about the evolution of automotive seating from the days of the Brougham/carriage interiors. Of course, it wouldn’t be about ‘how it’s made’ then, would it?
Lairds Customs says
It is baffling sometime to know that much of the public has no idea about the auto upholstery industry. My own car insurance guy had no idea that there were shops that make a living by doing auto interior. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him that I’m self employed building custom auto interiors. His thought was, why would anyone want to rebuild an old car?….
I think these How It’s Made videos do help show how the general public how much work is actually involved.
The shows I don’t like are the ones where guys build an entire car in 1 week. Who cares about the quality of the work, just as long as its flashy.
wow .. what a really creative way to suck the fun out of any kind of upholstery work .. .