DETROIT -- Johnson Controls Inc. unveiled its new car interior -- dubbed IE, or Inspired Efficiency -- that displays a variety of design trends that are likely to enter production over the next five years or so.
This year, the world’s largest seatmaker chose a mockup of a small car because “it’s one of the fastest growing product segments in the world,” said Mike Warsaw, Johnson Controls’ vice president of design and marketing.
The vehicle displays a variety of innovations for seats, telematics, audio systems, fabrics and storage. Johnson Controls is working with various automakers to develop production versions, Warsaw said.
“We have no interest in putting out a concept with ‘blue sky’ stuff,” Warsaw explained. “Everything here is stuff we intend to sell. By 2015, a car will have all this stuff.”
Here are five design trends to look for:
A glass screen pops up on top of the instrument panel to provide a full-color head-up display for the driver. The Peugeot 3008 features this technology, dubbed C-Hud. Warsaw predicts other automakers will follow suit.
Stadium seats allow the motorist to fold up the bottom cushion of the front passenger seat into a vertical position. That allows a large floor space up front to place a box or other cargo.
The audio system features six transducers that convert the headliner into a giant speaker. This allows the automaker to get rid of bulky speakers in the door panels.
A wireless charging system in the center console allows the motorist to recharge cell phones and other gadgetry. Johnson Controls calls it E-Bin.
Fabric stretched over the instrument panel allows the automaker to offer car buyers to choose from a variety of colors and fabrics. Look for automakers to adopt these switchable fabrics to personalize small cars and banish the memory of one-size-fits-all econoboxes.