The automotive seating market has been relatively dynamic segment of the automotive industry but with not too many innovations. Manufacturers have scrambled for keeping up the changing demands of vehicle passengers, models developed by automakers, and designs preferred by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the automobile industry. A number of options have emerged for developers of automotive seats, keeping the demand markedly lucrative. The value chain of the automotive seats market has been enriched by advances in seating designs at all tiers. Recliners for premium models of passenger vehicles are expected to open up interesting avenues for different automotive seat manufacturers. In addition, new product development avenues have come strikingly from the increasing incorporation of new, better materials for the seats.
The focal points for innovation are seating technology that combine lightweight and functionality, along with aesthetics. The aesthetics and the look have been a key determining factor for innovations in the seating technology being adopted for autonomous vehicles. OEMs and seat material suppliers have partnered to test new technologies in automotive seats market. A number of thermoelectric devices have been integrated with seating to boost travel experience. A case in point is climate control adjustment these offer. Growing number of luxury vehicle manufacturers are eyeing new customer avenues in automotive seats market.
Automotive seats are structures that provide seating to the driver and occupants in a vehicle. Automotive seats are of prime importance as they contribute to driver comfort and thus, influence driving. They are designed with respect to guidelines of thorax, knee and head supports inclination angle to dissipate the impact energy and thus, minimize the impact of a collision.
Consumer demand for comfort and luxury in the auto industry is estimated to drive the automotive seats market. Cold regions such as North America and Europe witness a high demand for heated seats. Heated seats have a heating element placed inside them to warm the cushion and thus, provide comfortable seating during winters. Cars manufactured by General Motors are equipped with an auto heat option that adjusts the heating control according to the temperature of the vehicle interior. Rising sales of premium and luxury cars is expected to boost the demand for heated seats, which in turn is likely to propel the automotive seats market. In countries such as India and sub-regions such as GCC, manufacturers of luxury vehicles offer ventilated seats. Rise in disposable income among consumers in Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific is estimated to fuel the demand for automotive seats. Automotive seats contribute to nearly 6% of the total vehicle weight. Rising trend of light weighting is boosting the usage of lightweight material and foam in the manufacture of automotive seats. Automakers are compelled to achieve low emission levels and fuel efficiency and hence, the demand for lightweight automotive seats are estimated to rise.
The adoption of head restraints and seat knuckles to enable seat belt use have become a mandatory feature in automotive seats. The seat upholstery has witnessed significant development in terms of comfort and esthetics in recent years. Low-end segment of vehicles are witnessing the utilization of Polyvinylchloride (PVC) as seat upholstery, due to its cost-effectiveness. The high resemblance of faux vinyl to genuine leather, superior esthetic appearance, and comparative lower price than genuine leather has prompted several premium vehicles adopting faux vinyl.
The global automotive seats market can be segmented based on seat type, vehicle type, sales channel, and geography. Based on seat type, the automotive seats market can be classified into bucket seat, bench seat, and folding seat. The bucket seat is a separate seat with armrest and contoured platform to seat a single person. Bucket seats are widely utilized as driver and co-driver seats in passenger and commercial vehicles. Premium vehicles have integrated bucket seats for rear seating purpose as well. The bench seat has a single piece for seating and may or may not have an independent back rest. This is the most common arrangement in commercial vehicles and the rear seating of passenger cars due to its cost-effectiveness. Several medium-end cars have integrated the bench seat with independent back rest, as they are more cost effective than the bucket seat. The seating also offers an armrest that can be folded to accommodate a third passenger. The bench seat is estimated to hold a major share of the seating market due to its robust design and low cost.
Rise in demand for utilities vehicles has fueled the demand for folding seats. The folding seats are integrated in the second row in order to be able to fold and access the rear seating or luggage area. Demand for folding seats is estimated to rise, as the sales of utility vehicles have increased, particularly in North America and Europe. In terms of vehicle type, the automotive seating market can be split into passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. The passenger vehicle segment holds a major share of the market due to the higher production rate of passenger cars. In terms of sales channel, the automotive seats market can be segregated into OEM and aftermarket. The OEM segment is estimated to hold a higher share of the market. Based on geography, the automotive seats market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Increase in vehicle production in developing countries such as China, South Korea, and India, due to inexpensive labor and land, is driving the automotive seats market in these countries.
Key players operating in the global automotive seats market include Faurecia, Magna Seating Inc., Lear Corporation, TS TECH CO., LTD., RECARO GmbH & Co.KG, and Gentherm. Faurecia has developed a cover carving technology that uses 3D cutting technology to cut the seat foam and trim and maintain the weight / function balance. Gentherm was the pioneer in heating seats and is a leader in thermal heating innovations.