A World of Innovations at 2000 North American International Auto Show
8 January 2000Lear Corporation Proves Global Presence, Systems Skill at 2000 NAIAS
A2 to Z3 Showcase Lear Features SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Open the door to almost any vehicle on display during the upcoming North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit and you'll discover an impressive assortment of innovative features and systems produced by Lear Corporation, one of the world's largest automotive suppliers. From instrument panels that can easily be reconfigured for right-hand or left-hand drive and flexible storage systems to sophisticated electronics and seats designed for folding/flipping/removal, Lear's technical innovations are in demand by automotive manufacturers around the world. Lear played a key role as part of the team that developed the all-new 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Lear is both the acoustical integrator and interior craftsmanship manager for the PT Cruiser, assuring that the vehicle has one of the most-refined interiors when it goes into production in the first quarter of 2000. Slip into the vehicle and you are surrounded by Lear products -- instrument panel, door panels, carpeting and sound abatement material, hard trim and an innovative five-position rear package shelf that serves as a load floor for cargo, security curtain to conceal the cargo area and a tail-gate party shelf. The PT Cruiser's instrument panel was designed and engineered to accommodate both right-hand and left-hand drive interchangeability, using a common base panel system and a glove box that can be mounted on either side. The family of 2001 Chrysler Town & County and Dodge Caravan minivans are known for their innovations and Lear has contributed unique folding front door armrests that absorb energy by collapsing in the event of a side impact. Lear is also the acoustical integrator and interior craftsmanship manager for the minivan platform, and additionally serves as the platform's overall interior systems integrator responsible for coordinating the team of suppliers and integrating their products to ensure the minivan interiors are on-time, on- budget and of world-class quality fit and finish. Lear introduced a low- pressure, injection molding process for the premium front door panels that molds the panel and the vinyl in one step, reducing costs and assembly time. Stop by the Ford display to check out the 2000 Ford Taurus. The Taurus seats now include two important Lear safety features to help protect front seat occupants if there is a crash: seat belt pretensioners that automatically pull the lap belts down 40 millimeters to assure the occupants are in optimum position for air bag deployment and seat track position sensors that provide information on seat position so that the deployment force of the new air bags is based on occupant's location relative to the air bag. In addition, Lear interior components were designed and engineered to pass all current and future head impact and side impact regulations. Lear has created a center console that can accept six different cell phones via the same cradle base and offers hands-free operation. Look behind the Lear-supplied Taurus seats, flooring, overhead system, trim and lighted trunk systems and you'll find that Lear has designed, engineered and manufactured a host of Taurus' electrical components -- from the keyless entry pad and power distribution box to the ignition and complete wiring system. The new 2000 Ford Excursion features one of the industry's longest one- piece molded headliner -- a Lear innovation, as well as Lear door panels, hard trim and flooring. The 2000 Ford Windstar shows Lear's ability to assist in achieving the industry's first quadruple 5-Star safety rating. The Lear- designed energy absorbing trim, sidewall and overhead systems were a critical part in achieving this rating. The Windstar also is one of the first to install 2nd and 3rd row child restraint anchors -- another Lear innovation -- to provide enhanced protection for children in safety seats. The 3rd row seat back panel also incorporates grocery bag hooks for improved storage convenience. The 20001/2 Windstar will include a "Limited" model that will incorporate many updated Lear interior features. At the Lincoln-Mercury display, the 2000 Mercury Cougar features a Lear- designed child safety innovation -- a child release safety handle for the trunk that is attached to the interior trim, glows in the dark and has a drawing of how to escape. Lear products are found on a number of vehicles on display at the GM Experience, the show's massive new General Motors exhibit showcasing all of the company's product brands. Riding comfort is a focus of GM's new line of full-size trucks -- the 2000 GMC Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL, and Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe and Suburban. Thanks to Lear, the trucks' feature-packed seats include such options as manual/power lumbar support, power recliner with memory, four-way head rests, heated lower seat cushions, and bucket seats plus 40-20-40 seating configurations. Lear also created a unique convenience system for the 2001 Pontiac Aztek sport utility vehicle featuring a light- weight storage unit that handles up to 400 pounds of cargo and glides over the open tailgate for easy loading and unloading. Slide into the 2000 Toyota Camry and find that Lear has a number of components on this popular sedan. Camry is America's top-selling car for 1999 and its most noticeable Lear features are found overhead: the headliner, overhead console, dome lamp and grab handles. But Lear also produces the Camry's center console and power seat adjusters, as well as the exterior mirrors and various wire harnesses. Lear has supported BMW's North American manufacturing operations in South Carolina since production was launched in 1994. The 2000 BMW X5 sport activity vehicle debuts with Lear seats offering such options as heated front and rear seats, electric front cushion tilt, motorized lumbar support, memory modules and quality leather. The X5's 60-40 split folding rear seats have center armrests designed to secure skis; the rear seats also recline and can be folded down to form a flat load floor. The vehicle also features Lear's VM2 electronic video module to run the X5's optional television tuner and multi-media equipment. Every BMW X5, as well as every BMW Z3 roadster, on the road today anywhere in the world has seats produced by Lear in Duncan, SC. For the past four years Lear has produced the seat systems for all Jaguar models worldwide. Lear also provides the electronic distribution system on the 2000 Jaguar XK8 coupe and convertible models, as well as the vehicle's entire interior except for the instrument panel fascia. Flexibility is the key to seating for the 2000 Audi A2. Lear has designed seating options that include two single rear seats or a three-place rear seat. Both seats have innovative dual-position reclining seat backs that also can be folded down and forward for storage against the front seat; the single rear seats can be removed completely to provide maximum cargo area. Lear also produces a special lightweight, aluminum rear seat for an energy-efficient version of the A2 that is sold only in Europe. The 2000 Volvo Wagon features several Lear creations sure to delight rear seat passengers. A sturdy flip/fold table folds forward from the rear seat cushion to provide rear occupants a tabletop along with two cupholders. Optional built-in child booster seats fold out of both outboard rear seats and a two-position back latch allows the rear seat to fold upright, providing greater storage space behind the rear seat. Saab 9-3 and 9-5 models led the industry in introducing the Saab Active Head Restraint that provides enhanced occupant protection against whiplash injury in the event of a rear impact -- based on Lear's ProTech(TM) self- aligning head restraint. Lear also supplies the seat systems and instrument panels for both models, as well as the headliner for the 9-5. Lear Corporation, a Fortune 200 company headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, USA, is one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, with anticipated 1999 sales of more than $12 billion. The company's world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by more than 100,000 employees in over 300 facilities located in 33 countries.