While interior comfort used to be reserved for luxury cars, better seats are finding their way into the cheaper compact and subcompact segments according to J.D. Power and Associates’ latest study.
The 2012 U.S. seat quality and satisfaction study polled 74,700 new car buyer within the first 90 days of them purchasing a car, asking about seat and seat-belt comfort, as well as defects and imperfections. Overall, compact and subcompact cars got a seat satisfaction rating of seven out of ten, a significant increase from the same study conducted in 2008. Seat quality ranks in at 5.5 problems per 100 vehicles, which is also a increase in quality since 2008.
Added seat convenience features are also starting to penetrate the subcompact and compact markets, with purchases of heated seats increasing 16 percent over 2008. Leather seats have seen a boost of 10 percent, while memory seats and cooled and ventilated seats have had an increase in sales of three percent and two percent respectively. Fewer than 30 percent of small car buyers opt for memory seats, cooled/ventilated seats, adjustable sliding rear seats or adjustable reclining rear seats, though 90 percent of buyers indicate that they would like those features on their next vehicle.
Headrests are also cited as a major factor in a customer’s perception of a car. In total, 73 percent of owners who did not experience headrest problems say that they “definitely will” recommend the vehicle to family and friends, while 46 percent say they “definitely will” repurchase a vehicle of the same brand. On the flip side, of owners who experienced headrest issues, 47 percent said they “definitely will” recommend the car, while only 27 percent said they “definitely will” buy a car from the same brand.
The best manufacturer of high quality, satisfying seats is Avanzar Interior Technologies, Ltd. — a joint venture between Johnson Controls and SAT Auto Technologies.