COVID and. . .Seats?

Another consequence of the global pandemic

By Gary S. Vasilash

Apparently, when it comes to the material used for seats in vehicles, leather is the leader. However, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study, fake leather, which goes by a number of names depending on the OEM (hint: if you’re in the showroom and you ask what that seat is made of and the name of the material sounds like something out of an episode of the Mandalorian, know that it isn’t leather), seems to be gaining some adherents.

Thanks to COVID.

“With a heightened sense of awareness to surface cleanliness due to COVID-19, synthetic leather seats lend themselves well to cleanability, but it is ultimately about providing benefits which address notable industry challenges such as providing durability, soil resistance and, most importantly, cost-effectiveness. Our study shows that synthetic leather out-performs cloth seating in select areas while offering benefits similar to those of leather.”

That’s Brent Gruber, senior director of automotive quality at J.D. Power.

Hyundai Elantra seats. (Image: Hyundai)

Clearly, cleaning is become all the more relevant nowadays.

In case you’re wondering what the top seats (and the manufacturers of said seats) are in the survey:

  • Mass market compact: Hyundai Elantra (Hyundai Seat Div.)
  • Mass market midsize/large car: Honda Clarity (Tachi-S Co.)
  • Mass market SUV & truck/van: Nissan Rogue (NHK Spring Co.)
  • Mass market midsize/large SUV: Chevrolet Blazer (Lear Corp.)
  • Mass market truck/van: Ram 1500 (Bridgewater Interiors)
  • Premium car: Porsche 718 (Lear Corp.)
  • Premium SUV: Lexus UX (Toyota Boshoku Corp.)

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