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Survey: Interior features gaining importance in automotive buying decisions
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:11.Jun.2020

Asahi Kasei Europe, a globally diversified technology company, conducted a survey together with a market research institute SKOPOS, interviewing a total of 1,200 car users in Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The survey was regarding their preferences relative to mobility and the future automotive interior.


A result of the survey has shown that, when buying the next car, 18.3% of all respondents in the four main European automotive markets will not buy the same brand as the current car, 34.9% are still undecided.


And when purchasing the current car, the interior design (e.g. seats, surfaces, etc.) was important to 54.8%, compared to 57.2% who paid more attention to the exterior design. Looking ahead to the purchase of the next car, the interior is rising by 5 percent points (59.8%) in its importance, the exterior by 4 percent points (61.4%).


Heiko Rother, General Manager Business Development Automotive at Asahi Kasei Europe, comments on the increasing importance of the automotive interior: “Customer expectations are not changing over night, but gradually and much faster than we have seen in the past.”

One out of ten respondents (10.3%) sees the poor processing quality of interior surface materials as the most annoying factor in the current car. 44.8% of all respondents see a benefit in surfaces that look and feel especially high quality – for example for seats, dashboards or headliners – compared to just 11.4% who do not. A third of all participants (32.5%) would be willing to pay a reasonable price for these surfaces as extra equipment.


While the word “reasonable” is subjective, it shows the growing importance of interior surfaces. Asked about the surface material itself, 57% of the respondents think that sustainable materials for seat covers and surfaces will be becoming increasingly important in the next 5 to 10 years, while the need for real leather equipment will fall drastically.


Asked about additional functions of the seat covers and surfaces, 49% of all respondents see a benefit in antibacterial properties. Taking a closer look at the age structure, it turns out that car users from 18 to 39 years are seeing a stronger benefit of antibacterial surfaces, especially compared to the participants over 59 years.


The same trend can be seen in regard to seat covers and surfaces with odour-inhibiting properties. 49.3% see a benefit in these surfaces, which are again highly valued by the car users from 18 to 39 years.


With the changing in-car driving experience, the perception of sound and noise is evenly about to change. 16.1% of the car users consider the driving noise as the most annoying factor of their current car. Looking ahead to the future automotive, the suppression of road and engine noise will become even more urgent.


While different materials and technologies inside the car can tackle this problem, visible interior surfaces can also play their part. 51.8% would see a benefit in noise-absorbing seat covers and surfaces, 35.9% are even inclined to book these surfaces for additional costs.


To conclude, a changing mobility behavior and the growing autonomy of cars will impact the user’s driving experience. Automotive interior features are on their way to become the main differentiating element influencing buying decisions – and within the interior the need towards premium, hygienic and sound-absorbing surfaces is on the rise.



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