The last few years have seen unprecedented growth in the U.K. automotive industry. In 2016, in the U.K. alone, 1.7 million cars were built across 15 vehicle manufacturers. The recent success after a long period of decline in the industry has been remarkable, with the highest output of the U.K. automotive sector in 17 years.
The U.K. automotive industry is understandably favoured. It has world-class production facilities, state of the art factories, the latest technology and cutting-edge design. It is no surprise that exports are extraordinarily high. There were 1.35 million cars shipped worldwide in the last year and 50% of cars shipped served a strong demand in Europe. The U.K. car industry is hugely important for the economy. With so many elements involved in car production, it is clear to see why 2% of the U.K. workforce is employed within the umbrella of the motor industry.
The car manufacturers themselves are not the only ones who are benefiting from this growth, however. Suppliers are also reaping the rewards, namely those in the textile industry. This is due to the demand for automotive upholstery.
The Expanse of Automotive Upholstery
Often neglected, the level of upholstery in a car is a vital element and one that covers more than people realise. Automotive upholstery can include items such as; floor mats, seat upholstery, boot liners, seat belts, window frames, seat trim, sunroof, car roof, door panel trim, headrest covers, column padding, cladding, insulating material and under-shield. The level of upholstery needed in each car is a massive and essential task. However, it is one that is not often given the appreciation that it deserves.
The level of innovation and design in automotive upholstery is improving at a rapid pace. New materials are being introduced to help improve the longevity of the upholstery as the lifespan of a car is increasing. New techniques, materials and machinery are being introduced to improve the manufacturing process as well as the customer usability.
At AE Sewing Machines, we are keen to have all of the latest innovative machinery and industrial sewing equipment available for our automotive clients. The partnership with Juki Corporation has enabled us to get the latest heavy duty machinery to meet the rising demand and to help all of those involved in the automotive upholstery field.
10% Growth Rate For Automotive Upholstery
Recent market research has predicted that the global upholstery market is growing, and will continue to grow for the next few years. It is suggested that the global automotive upholstery market will grow at an annual growth rate of over 10% until 2019. This figure takes into account a number of different factors, such as the growing aftermarket sector.
The aftermarket sector is benefitting many automotive companies as there is a greater demand for upholstery replacement. The growth can be attributed to a number of different factors. For example, the fact that the average lifespan of a car is increasing, the new technology and upholstery materials offer great usability and the fact that premium quality cars deserve a well-maintained interior.
Premium Upholstery For Premium Cars
There is a greater demand for premium quality cars. Thanks to the recent automotive boom in Britain, the U.K. is now the second biggest producer of premium cars behind Germany. Premium manufacturers who develop their cars in the U.K. include brands such as; Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Premium cars ensure that the interiors match the stunning car exteriors. In the case of premium cars, the automotive upholstery is much more creative. It takes on artistic flair to create the perfect image of the car on the inside, improving the usability as well as the value. For premium cars, the level of detail increases as well as the quality of materials. Car manufacturers seek out soft and supple leather that is hard-wearing and durable that won’t lose its beauty through environmental factors (such as fading from the sun) and wear and tear.
To create the level of intricate stitching as well as durable and long-lasting upholstery, a good quality industrial sewing machine is needed. Juki Corporation prides themselves on their high-quality components that are designed with automotive textiles in mind. With AE Sewing Machines being the only Juki appointed dealer in the U.K., we are building great relationships with car manufacturers who need the best machinery to ensure the highest quality.
The Luxury of Automotive Upholstery
Automotive upholstery means many things to many different people and companies. The automotive upholstery company, Kahn, is described as being a world-leading car fashion house. In fact, the company's founder, Afzal Kahn is noted for saying "the road is my catwalk." Kahn has understood the customer demand for the interior of the car to have a sense of luxury and style. Kahn works hard to improve the car’s tactile user experience with exquisite automotive upholstery in order to create a sense of oneness between the driver and the car.
Similarly, Aston Martin also takes a luxury approach with their automotive interiors. For each car on the production line, it takes 200 hours to assemble. This includes the intricate stitch work on the seats. The care, love and attention that goes into each car is something to be admired and can be seen in the level of detail in the automotive upholstery. With 4,000 cars produced every year, the meticulously crafting is an impressive feat.
Of course, each manufacturer takes a different view on the level of detail required for each product line. They understand that the more intricate the stitching, the more time-consuming it is to produce and therefore the price will go up. However, many manufacturers are putting more focus into the interiors and giving greater attention to the driver’s experience in the car rather than the exterior quality. With industrial sewing machines becoming more and more advanced to meet the needs of manufacturers, we are likely to see a high level of progression in the automotive upholstery industry with luxury and comfort taking the driving seat.