Six years after Lear Corp. set out to reduce the cost of automotive seating, the interiors supplier has orders for 3.6 million seats annually based on a single architecture, a Lear vice president says.
The so-called Lear family of flexible seating allows Lear to meet automaker demands for lower prices through volume sales of seats with a common frame to several automakers across 14 platforms.
The increasingly tough demand by automakers for ever-lower parts prices fits with the Perfect Storm theme adopted by this year's Management Briefing Seminars - a "storm Lear saw coming," said Patrick Murray, a Lear vice president.
Lear is not the first to adopt common frame seating architecture, but it is one of the largest.
Commonizing parts allows parts makers such as Lear to reduce piece prices by cutting the amount of tooling required. Commonizing typically involves parts invisible to consumers.
Lear, of Southfield, Mich., is focused on internal growth since scaling back its acquisition-fueled growth. The contracts for 3.6 million seats are part of the $4.4 billion in business Lear has been awarded through the next five years.
Murray, vice president of Lear's VisionWorks technology division, has the task of adding to that growth by visualizing future vehicle interiors through the assessment of long-term tends. He is responsible for Lear's research and design studios.