An executive at Lear Corporation, one of the world’s largest auto parts manufacturers, recently admitted that car seats are uncomfortable by design, and revealed plans on how his company finally plans to remedy the issue.
“Car seats are designed for the first 15 minutes of ‘soak time’ in the dealership,” Ray Scott, president of Lear‘s seat division, told Car and Driver. “The occupants are not being supported over the long run.”
In other words, Lear and other manufacturers have purposefully deceived car buyers into thinking their seats are more comfortable than they really are, exasperating drivers’ back pains.
Nevertheless, Lear is coming clean and says that it’s developing new technology that will make car seats comfortable for the long haul — using a combination of body sensors and pneumatic bags. Car and Driver explains:
Scott and his team, many of whom, coincidentally, have back issues, hired a consultant, Detroit-area chiropractor and disc specialist Dr. Winsen Zouzal, and studied butts in seats to a fare-thee-well, using sophisticated pressure sensors to determine “hot spots” where the spine is misaligned and the backs of the thighs are squeezed. They learned that traditional upmarket adjustments such as power lumbar control are inadequate. These rectangular inflatable “footballs,” as Scott calls the pneumatic bags within the seat, often just create pressure points that make you uncomfortable without doing any actual good.
Lear is shopping around a concept that it calls the Intuitive Seat, a sort of living, breathing bucket that is always in motion. The seat can recognize your pressure points and adjusts itself according to your ideal position for spinal alignment, then keeps adjusting and massaging as you fatigue and shift around. Instead of footballs, the Intuitive Seat has what Scott and Zouzal describe as a pneumatic catcher’s mitt, or triangular bags that embrace your upper thorax below your shoulders and actually lift it slightly, engaging the core, opening up your airways, and taking pressure off the beleaguered discs below. It gives the driver the option of phasing in the new seat position over time so that you have a chance to get used to what may at first seem like an awkward, upright seat adjustment, and it has sport and comfort settings depending on your driving mood. Scott says a few automakers are interested.
It’s definitely not cool for companies to profit by creating problems and then introducing their solutions. But after years of uncomfortable car seats, I’m excited to try anything that will make long road trips enjoyable again. Still, it’s not clear if or when Lear‘s new car seat technology will ever hit the market.
To read the full article, see: “Your Car’s Seats Are Terrible and the Industry Knows It.”
ed campbell says
They should also include upholsterer friendly repairs or replacement availability.
Other wise you just may contribute to the auto trimmers shop decline.
I guess this is as close to a forum as we are going to get on this site. With that being said, If Lear Corporation is genuinely concerned about manufacturing a comfortable car seat, maybe they should get away from the throwaway mind set,and concentrate more on manufacturing a longer lasting product. New technology is not the answer. People do not need or want body sensors and pneumatic bags. Technology only complicates the situation. The easy answer is better quality foams, that don’t break down after six months of normal wear and seat substrates that are designed not to saw cut the low end foam in half. Seating in cars now a days, is nothing more than a time bomb, designed to self destruct in a matter of months. No one complained about seats being uncomfortable in the forty’s and fifty’s. Sometimes you have to take about three steps backwards to move forward. I would like to hear other peoples horror stories about the ignorance they have experienced having to redesign the car seat, to make the repair. I know I have many.
Saipa Azin is one of the biggest car seat manufacturer in middle east and have a tender for buying a complete seat assembly line you can find thisTender at following address:
Shame on Lear Corp for purposely deceiving consumers into thinking their seats are comfortable when they admit they are not. Unfortunately, I have purchased two vehicles that had Lear Corp seats that were awful (2001 BMW 330i and a 2017 Porche Macan S). Most of us drive longer than 15 minutes. This practice of purposely making something dysfunctional is just shameless consumer deception in service of financial opportunism. Now, Lear is “using a combination of body sensors and pneumatic bags” to offer a solution to a problem that didn’t have to exist in the first place. Once again, this isn’t “coming clean”, as the article suggests as in now they are doing right by consumers. Rather, it’s “reinventing the wheel”, or, in this case, “reinventing the car seat” when in fact, it’s just a ploy to sell more expensive technology that solves a problem they admit to have created. Principles of ergonomic design already exist and have been used for decades. Manufacturing a comfortable seat is not difficult and only requires an adherence to some known principles of ergonomic design. It does not require introducing inflatable bags, pressure sensors, massaging motors or anything else. It starts with the actual contour of the seat and then adding basic adjustments. That’s all. Comfortable seats have been around for a long time. I hope Porsche and other car manufactures take note, or, better yet, collect data by sending out survey’s to their customers asking about seat comfort so they can make informed decisions about who they give the opportunity to produce seats for their automobiles.