Johnson Controls shares top interior development trends at the 2013 North American International Auto Show

Premium design, sustainability and surface detail are key in today’s vehicles

DETROIT, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Design experts at Johnson Controls, a global leader in automotive seating, say the focus on providing drivers and passengers with a luxury experience is an emerging trend, especially in growing markets like China. The company will showcase its interior innovations at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at Detroit’s Cobo Center.          

“Our automaker customers look to our research capabilities to produce interiors that help set their vehicles apart,” said Thomas Gould, design director, Johnson Controls Automotive Seating. “At Johnson Controls, consumer and market research has always been a driving force behind our design and development efforts.”         

One trend is the redefinition of luxury that focuses on driver / passenger experiences, as well as the appreciation of sustainable materials. The trend is toward simple elegance, superior craftsmanship, authentic materials of high quality, attention to surface finishes and contoured stitching and soft trim padded comfort.  Examples of this can be seen in Johnson Controls’ new Gen 3 Synergy Seat, with its premium comfort characteristics.

Another trend is the continued move toward mass reduction and sustainability, which is driving innovations that offer fuel efficiency and decreased energy consumption, new lightweight material composites, space efficiency and weight reduction while maintaining market safety requirements.

Examples of this trend can be seen in several Johnson Controls products such as the Synergy Seat, which uses natural fiber-reinforced composites in place of steel, and the new ComfortThin rear seat, with its slim contours that reduce overall vehicle dimension and its recyclable coil-spring technology.

Today, design is no longer just about styling, but about attention to details. Personalization is a key differentiator for consumers. To address this, Johnson Controls is focusing on surface finishes such as 3-D tactile grains. In addition, the custom perforated leather in its Synergy Seat localizes ventilation for optimum comfort. The company’s new Wristwatch seat showcases creativity with its unique 3-D trim design that gives a handcrafted appearance.

The last trend is designing for regional preferences, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach. This has been especially important in emerging markets such as China. The new Hongqi (which means “Red Flag”) H7 vehicle showcases Johnson Controls’ first total interior for a luxury vehicle for the China market. The vehicle was designed and developed by Johnson Controls’ two joint venture plants in Changchun for China’s historic Red Flag brand.

In addition, Johnson Controls’ new Inspiration Seat for the China market addresses the priority given in that region to second-row seating. The seat transforms the typical three-seat rear space into two lounge seats whose seat adjustments can be controlled by an iPad. The seat offers state-of-the-art functionality such as memory, four-way lumbar support, multi-level massaging, heating and ventilation, armrest with integrated iPad pocket, wireless charging for smart phones and heating/cooling cupholder.

“At Johnson Controls, we draw inspiration from the mega-trends that are fueling smart and purposeful design,” said Sherry Sabbagh, design manager, color and materials and design trend research, Johnson Controls Automotive Seating.

This is the 19th year Johnson Controls will be involved in the NAIAS as an event sponsor and exhibitor. Its 10,000-square-foot exhibit in room D2-15 of Detroit’s Cobo Center will be open to media and invited guests. A product overview press conference will be held at 6:30 a.m. EST on Monday, January 14. 

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About Johnson Controls:
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 170,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2012, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #5 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. For additional information, please visit

About Johnson Controls Automotive Experience:
Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics. We support all major automakers in the differentiation of their vehicles through our products, technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities. With 240 locations worldwide, we are where our customers need us to be. Consumers have enjoyed the comfort and style of our products, from single components to complete interiors. With our global capability, we supply approximately 50 million cars per year.

SOURCE Johnson Controls