TO THE EDITOR:
As a designer in the leather and automotive industries, I've watched the recurring trend toward natural materials ("Yes, using leather in EVs is good for the environment," Stephen Sothmann, July 5). Automotive designers have been requesting more natural materials for their interiors as a way to communicate comfort to the end consumer. This interest continues to grow as consumers become more sensitive to climate change and the impact their purchasing decisions have on the health of our planet.
The recent (and growing) market for electric vehicles, along with increased awareness of sustainability, brings the advantage of using genuine leather for interiors rather than having it otherwise go to waste in landfills. With beef consumption up across the globe, natural materials not only provide superior comfort, they are also the environmentally responsible choice.
As OEM performance materials requirements have changed and cost targets have gone down, we in the leather industry have met that challenge by creating a product that looks and performs better than vinyl in many areas.
When leather is naturally finished, it looks and feels like no other material. It is soft, warm, inviting and naturally ventilated, and it will withstand time. The connection of electric and leather stories does not "wear out" — it "wears in."
LAURIE BUSCH, Global vice president of design, Pangea, Rochester Hills, Mich. Pangea is a global leather supplier to leading automotive brands.