Detroit — Lear Corp. says it is partnering with three automakers to bring advance-concept vehicle seating to market as early as 2019 through its Crafted by Lear pilot program.
The seating and electrical systems supplier is not identifying the customers or revealing what kind of seats will appear in new vehicles between 2019 and 2021. But the projects are being done through the Crafted by Lear venture that it launched this year.
Lear wants to work with auto-makers on seat planning far earlier than normal in vehicle development to deliver more innovative seating.
"The challenge that we see in the industry today is that our OEM customers have beautiful concept seats, but then there's a gap between what we see in concept and what goes in production," Mandy Rice, Lear's vice president of global trim cover engineering, said last week at a media event here for the company's Center for Craftsmanship design studio.
The success of the pilot program will be based on gaining automakers' trust, said Jeneanne Hanley, Lear's vice president of global trim and craftsmanship.
"We need to be innovating real-time together with engineers and designers," Hanley said, "not do it in a studio and hand it over the wall to the engineers."