Auto Service World
News   June 17, 2002   by Auto Service World

Lookalike Leather Substitute To Hit Market This Summer

A new automotive interior covering that looks and feels like leather is to be offered by a Canadian company by the end of the summer.
Canadian General-Tower Limited (CGT), a leading North American supplier of automotive interior coverings, today announced that it has secured exclusive rights to manufacture and market a leather-like polymer product in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The covering is designed for use in seating surfaces, as well as door trim, instrument panels, steering wheels, consoles and shift knobs. A comfortable feel combined with superior moisture-absorption and release properties make it the most leather-like, non-leather product ever made available to auto designers and materials engineers in North America, according to the company.
The product will be offered as both a PVC and Thermoplastic Polyolefine (TPO). CGT was granted the rights from Tokyo-based Idemitsu Technofine Co., Ltd., which first introduced the product to Japanese automakers.
The product currently is found on select Subaru models sold in the U.S. and Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu models sold in Japan.
“A growing number of drivers are demanding luxury interiors in their vehicles and this breakthrough product provides automakers with an interior trim coverstock which provides a cost-effective, soft-feel, comfortable driving environment,” said Jan Chaplin, CEO of CGT. “This product is produced by the fusion of nature and materials science, and we are excited about the opportunity to introduce it to automakers over the next several months. We expect significant interest.”
To make the unique covering, naturally occurring organic materials are produced in a patented process and combined with special resins. Excellent moisture absorption and release properties dramatically reduce unpleasant clamminess, providing comfort and functionality close to those of natural materials. The company plans to begin manufacturing the PVC version of the new covering this summer; TPO production is currently scheduled to commence by the end of the year.

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