Ten Approaches to Adding Cabin Value: Primary Feedback
To explore these ideas to create premium value in a cabin, The ITB Group posed an economic problem to OEM engineers. It encouraged them to brainstorm where a supplier could potentially create new value in an automotive cabin. We asked OEM engineers a focus question, “If you could spend an extra $300 somewhere in the passenger cabin, where would a car company make the most impact?”. The responses ranged from discussions of general styling to more specific applications. We summarize this verbatim feedback into ten interest areas, including styling, functions, market separation, seating, instrument panels, floor consoles, health, scientific touch, interaction, kinematics, fineness, and landed cost. The feedback includes:
- The Importance of Styling: Do not just add more trims but have an overall design. Even with ordinary materials, styling can be impressive.
- Add Functions that Touch the Consumer: Spend on seats, or on the opening or closing doors, where consumers can feel the change. Add tangible things such as smart surfaces or on functional parts that competing OEMs do not have such as fragrance systems or health fabrics.
- Separate the Market into Luxury and Technology Segments: Middle-aged and well-off customers like luxurious goods and prefer a better touch with better fabric and texture, whereas young consumers like cool technology things like ambient light or dynamic music
- Seating: This should be the place where more of the cabin possibilities are, with at least 40% of budgetary improvements for seating. Customer facing improvements can include massage and better foams, but also expenditures on alloy to reduce the mass and improve the strength of the seat frame, and surface material changes for less VOC’s.
- Instrument Panels and Floor Consoles: Not much additional spending is required in the instrument panel, except for small changes such as spiral air vents in the instrument panel. However, if floor consoles have additional budgets, spend to make this console slidable to the back row, or add a small table panel to it.
- Health: Add health-related features, such as a catalyzer to neutralize benzene. Limit the required volume of formaldehyde and benzene.
- Scientific Touch, Sense of Technology: Add ambient lighting in the door panel or instrument panel. The preferred application has a scientific touch, for the sense of technology, adding the kind of feeling that when the customer uses it, there is the kind of intelligent feeling.
- Interaction, Kinematics, and A Sense of Ritual: Spend on applications that bring a sense of impact to customers since there is less that can be added from the product itself or the materials. Add some ritual and human interaction features. Another emerging need is to spend on something that instructs what the car does, something in-car to teach the functions. And finally spend on voice technology which has the lowest learning curve; talking should be straightforward with voice commands.
- Fineness: add details and fineness in fabric and texture, to elevate the sense of quality
- Platform efficiencies: spend on total enterprise cost solution where an electromechanical solution is common, and the cosmetic portion is variable. Think in terms of total landed enterprise cost.
ITB has surveyed global OEMs regarding their cabin development goals and unmet needs. ITB’s customers are developing solution sets that will be applied to advanced interiors in electric vehicles as their volume increases. Contact The ITB Group to gain insights and construct strategies for solution development and commercialization.