In the highly competitive environment of the automotive industry, vehicle interiors have become an important part of customers’ purchasing process. PEUGEOT, with the widespread use of the i-Cockpit® on almost all of its range, has revolutionized vehicle interiors and has taken particular care with the seats, which are now becoming increasingly complex and technological. They are subject to diverse and very strong daily constraints, which is why seats must meet several expectations: to convey a distinctive and customizable visual image, and to convey a different sense of safety and comfort for occupants depending on the geographic area of marketing.
In 60 years the seats have passed important technological milestones. In 1955, the first seat adjustments (backrest incline-seat height, etc…) appeared on mass-produced cars. PEUGEOT also established the sleeper seats of its flagship model of the time: the 403.
As for the rear seat access feature, it was launched on commercial vehicles in 1957. Other innovations are more recent, such as the division of the 2/3 1/3 bench seats (PEUGEOT 306 for example) or the addition of a third row of retractable seats (PEUGEOT 5008).
As early as 2007, PEUGEOT seized the opportunity of the launch of the new EMP2 platform to begin development of a crosswise reinforcement for the front seats. This is the modular crosswise reinforcement that will be found on the first version of the PEUGEOT 308 launched in 2014. The frame make the seats lighter, while improving safety and comfort. The seats are lighter, more technical and less expensive.
This frame is also used on the CMP platform and is industrialized in Europe, China and Latin America.
Expectations according to geographical areas
Seats are now part of our basic services on vehicles in the PEUGEOT range. This is a strong economic challenge with cost prices that can exceed several thousand euros. A seat kit consists of 150 parts and is made up of a driver’s seat, a passenger seat and a rear bench seat.
The seats are also subject to very strong and diverse daily constraints:
- Resistance (morphology and weight of the customers very different according to the user);
- Wear and tear (a seat will wear out thousands of times over several years or even decades);
- Temperature (inside a vehicle, it can be very cold or very hot).
Worldwide, the notion of comfort differs according to geographical area:
- In Europe, demand is focused on comfort at the front, with customers wanting precision in posture, lateral support and support after long journeys. For the rear seat, the idea of foldability is in demand.
- In China, the demand is for comfort in the first row and the rear seat with a soft approach and little lateral support.
For the upper segment, this is complemented by high expectations in terms of equipment and accessories in the rear seats.
- In South America, the demand is for optimum vibration absorption and comfort in the first row and rear seat.
Brand DNA as a visual and sensory marker
From the customer’s point of view, car seats must fulfill three priority and essential functions: “Place, Pleasure and Protect”.
As one with the occupant, they make an important contribution to the vehicle’s typology, which is specific to each brand. Since 2013, PSA Group’s different brands have defined a strategy of distinction that clearly expresses the DNA of each brand. The customer must identify the Brand of his or her vehicle at first glance and at the very first feeling when they sit in the seat.
For the PEUGEOT brand, the customer must feel the seats as being dynamic, and vertical with firmer support.
The seats of tomorrow: fashion and well-being
The seats of the future will be increasingly influenced by clothing fashion. The colours and materials used for the upholstery of the seats will be inspired by the major trends in ready-to-wear and furnishing.
Well-being is also an integral part of designers’ concerns. Recent innovations include the integration of air bags in the foam to adapt car seats to the morphology of the occupants. PEUGEOT offers, as an option on many vehicles in the range, a back massage system that is particularly appreciated by customers because it promotes the relaxation of the occupants while activating the back muscles.
In this age of the driverless car, the seats will be at the heart of the vehicle’s interior design more than ever before. They will have to offer multiple possibilities for transforming the passenger compartment as proposed in the e-LEGEND concept car. The aim is to transform the time spent in the car into a moment of familiarity and relaxation.
By that time, composite will have partially replaced the metal frame of the seats to offer more subtlety, thereby freeing up space in the passenger compartment.
The fabulous history of PEUGEOT seats is clearly not over yet!