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Innovations in Johnson Controls' Concept car Allow More Room for Storage and Facilitate Flexible Usage

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BURSCHEID, Germany, September 12 --

- Space for Individuals

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Johnson Controls, one of the world's leading suppliers of automotive interior systems, electronics and batteries, presents a new interior for the fast-growing medium SUV segment. During development, the designers and engineers paid particular attention to the needs of the target groups: The demand for individuality and flexibility plus a harmonious interior ambience were particularly significant factors. New seating solutions giving a more spacious feel and allowing more room for storage are being introduced along with numerous electronic highlights. Apart from the specific requirements of the target market, the general mission of Johnson Controls drove the development and production of this concept vehicle: leveraging global synergies and sustainable solutions.

Consumer researchers at Johnson Controls found that drivers of medium-sized SUVs typically fall, among others, into two main groups: two successfull professionals living together and older couples whose children have already left home. They want a roomy car with sporty appeal that meets their individual needs.

New spacious concept thanks to seating innovations

The seating specifications are tailored to these target groups. Because these individuals usually travel alone or as a couple, this eliminates the need for a rear seat to accommodate passengers. "For this reason we set out to make the design of the second row as flexible as possible, to create additional storage space," said Han Hendriks, Vice President Industrial Design and Marketing at Johnson Controls. Two innovations made this larger, available space possible: the Slim Seat and the invisible rear-seat row. "The Slim Seat, with its thin seat back, is just as safe and comfortable as any conventional seat. Each Slim Seat, from basic to luxury version, is based on our tried and tested MS seating structure," said Han Hendriks. This means that different safety or comfort features can be integrated in alignment with individual customer preferences - like the active head restraint or lumbar support, which are both included in the concept car. All simulations on the new seats have been conducted and have met the relevant requirements. Vents in the side wedges and backrest panels of the Slim Seat convey an additional sense of spaciousness.

The second row of seats in the default position is invisible, creating space for extra storage. Since luggage is no longer placed on the rear seat, the seating material is also subjected to less wear and tear. In addition to more room for large-scale objects, there is now enough space behind the first row of seats for pets, too. The rear-seat row unfolds to make room for two passengers, at the touch of a button. The mechanical release allows the seat cushion to fold down into place.

Plug-in hybrid battery for sustainable driving enjoyment

The new lithium-ion plug-in hybrid battery is integrated into the trunk. It ensures the low-emission running of the vehicle. However, the battery is not the only sustainable feature. "It was particularly important to us that this concept car fulfills the requirements of the 2015 ELV directive that stipulates 95 percent recyclability," said Johannes Roters, Group Vice President and General Manager Europe, Africa, South America Automotive Experience at Johnson Controls.

More ergonomic and comfort thanks to innovative electronics

In addition, the theme of ergonomics also played an important role. A hybrid instrument cluster ensures the best possible human-machine interface by reducing the information processing and driver distraction time. Two smaller segmented displays to the left and right of the instrument cluster allow various types of information to be presented. This information can be changed by pushing the displays up or down. One display shows fuel tank and temperature readings while the other displays provide navigation and engine speed details.

"Developing a functional and harmonious interior requires the know-how and interplay of all areas of competence. We are proud to be able to demonstrate this in our concept vehicle, which also goes beyond geographical boundaries," said Han Hendriks. For instance, our teams in the United States developed the center console and the hybrid battery.

The special benefit: nearly all of the products in this concept car are available now, and can be integrated in the next generation of vehicles.

You will find the full press release with photos on

Johnson Controls is the global leader that brings ingenuity to the places where people live, work and travel. By integrating technologies, products and services, we create smart environments that redefine the relationships between people and their surroundings. Our team of 140,000 employees creates a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world through our products and services for more than 200 million vehicles, 12 million homes and one million commercial buildings. For additional information, please visit