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2012 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study Results

2012 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study Results

By Jeff Youngs, August 22, 2012
Manufacturers of small cars seem to have upped their game in terms of the quality and features of their vehicle seats, and consumers are responding with increased purchases of those smaller vehicles--and higher levels of satisfaction with the seating. According to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study,SM market share for compact and subcompact cars has grown by slightly more than 10% in the past 4 years--and purchasers of those cars generally experience higher levels of satisfaction with the seating.

"Owners have high expectations for their vehicle, and purchasing a smaller car doesn't mean they want to forego amenities, especially regarding seats," says Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. "Automakers are doing a good job of recognizing the importance of seat comfort and quality, identifying suppliers to provide the best seats available and integrating them into the vehicle."

Owners Looking for More Seat Features, Comfort
According to the study, the quality and comfort of seat headrests--especially the adjustment controls--has a significant impact on owner satisfaction with seats. Although fewer than 30% of compact or subcompact car owners have memory seats, cooled/ventilated seats, adjustable sliding rear seats or adjustable reclining rear seats in their current vehicle, more than 90% of these owners say that they'd like to have such features in their next vehicle. Owners also express high interest in features such as fold-down rear seats, heated seats, power lumbar support, and height-adjustable seat belts.

"Seats are a constant touch point for vehicle owners," says VanNieuwkuyk. "Owners clearly are looking for more features and comfort from their vehicle seats, and it is evident that manufacturers have an opportunity to raise the bar."

About the Study
The 2012 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study provides automotive manufacturers and suppliers with quality and satisfaction information related to automotive seating systems. New-vehicle owners are asked to rate the quality of their vehicle seats and seat belts based on whether or not they experienced defects/malfunctions or design problems during the first 90 days of ownership. The study is based on responses from more than 74,700 owners of new 2012 model-year cars and light trucks. The study was fielded between February and May 2012.

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