The Smart, Sustainable, and Lightweight Seating Solution for the Upper-Medium Segment

FRANKFURT, Germany – Johnson Controls premiers Synergy Seat Gen 3 seating concept at the IAA

Johnson Controls, a global leader in automotive seating systems and components, is premiering its Synergy Seat Gen 3 in Europe at the International Motor Show (IAA) 2013. This new seating concept combines numerous innovations from Johnson Controls.

The Synergy Seat Gen 3 demonstrates the unique capabilities of the global leader in automotive seating in unprecedented form.

"Innovation was a factor in the Synergy Seat Gen 3 well before the product features were actually defined and implemented. We have taken a holistic approach from the outset," said Andreas Maashoff, director Industrial Design and Craftsmanship and Consumer and Market Research, Johnson Controls Automotive Seating. "First, as an interdisciplinary team, we gathered information on all the latest trend and consumer research, customer feedback, market data, and benchmarking. Second, we defined the requirements of consumers, automakers with their respective strategies and brand identities, and Johnson Controls as an innovation, technology, and design leader."

Early product definition

Defining the product at such an early stage - coupled with the benefits of virtual design and virtual engineering tools - enabled a quick and real-life visualization of 3D seat models. In keeping with the synergy concept, the entire product development process involved the innovative expertise of the seating systems, metals and mechanisms, foam, trim, and fabrics segments as well as composites. The shared goal was to create a smart seating solution for the upper-medium segment, combining eco-friendly materials with state-of-the-art technology and reducing mass and complexity while enhancing comfort and safety.

Expressive design

"Seats are becoming a much more central design element and a key distinguishing feature in automotive interiors. Customization is playing a greater role than ever," said Maashoff. The Synergy Seat Gen 3 from Johnson Controls presents a design concept with a range of attractive details. The high quality of the materials and craftsmanship are immediately evident.

"In designing the seat, we have translated current trends from the world of architecture and fashion. But the expressive, three-dimensional design of our Synergy Seat Gen 3 also incorporates key elements of current vehicle exteriors," said Maashoff. These include striking framework structures, which the Johnson Controls designers have implemented in light outlines and dark interior zones. Decorative stripes and stitching highlight the contours and underline the sculptural appearance of the seat. Subtle ambient lighting behind the backrest also reflects one of the latest trends.

"There is a deliberate play on contrasting convex and concave surfaces. Emphasizing the concave surfaces reduces the visible volume, making the seat appear lighter," said Maashoff.

Less weight, reduced complexity

The lightweight structure is one of the most important design features of the Synergy Seat Gen 3 - interior weight savings represent a key construction principle. A central element is the innovative backrest made of so-called organo sheets.

"For this, we specifically combined fabric material with an injection-molding process to create a similar stability to fiberglass-reinforced plastics and strength properties similar to carbon. We were able to dispense with the standard metal structure inside the backrest completely," said Maashoff. Components such as mounting elements for attaching side wedges or head restraints can also be easily integrated into the backrest during molding. Johnson Controls has reduced the total number of parts in the interior as well as its complexity.

Thanks to its slimline contour, the backrest is an extremely space-saving addition to the automotive interior. As a visible component, it also features an exceedingly flexible surface design, e.g. variations in the color, sheen, and feel of the shell material are possible via thin films which are directly applied to the seat. Effects can also be achieved using lacquer or fabric- and leather-covered surfaces.

Johnson Controls' innovative, lightweight seat tracks and height and tilt adjusters go a long way to reduce the mass of the structure as well. For example, the Taumel 3000 recliner used in the Synergy Seat Gen 3 is up to 44 percent lighter than its predecessor.

Latest generation of head restraints

The Synergy Seat Gen 3's head restraints were designed to integrate harmoniously into the overall look of the seat. The passive head restraint is fully electrically adjustable both horizontally and vertically, offering maximum safety, flexibility, ease of use, and comfort. It is also less complex - the adjustment mechanism is fully integrated into the component, making assembly much easier. In keeping with the premium standard, the acoustic profile of operating noises and other adjustment mechanisms in the seat has been designed to suit the upper-medium segment.

Climate zones for increased comfort

The Synergy Seat Gen 3 features fabric trims with integrated climate zones. These breathable DryFit fabrics wick moisture away from the body via underlying 3D woven spacer fabrics, ensuring long-lasting comfort. The 3D effects and striking seams of the optional leather trims were created using a proprietary computer-controlled sewing process. Customized perforation zones can be used in the leather to improve climate control. The various degrees of hardness of the seat cushion in the VariTec multi-zone foam under the seat covers ensure a comfortable seat on long journeys.

Johnson Controls will present its innovations from Sept. 12-22, 2013, at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, in Hall 5.1, Booth B28.

Digital images are available online from

About Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 168,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful.

About Johnson Controls Automotive Experience

Johnson Controls Automotive Experience is a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics. We support all major automakers in the differentiation of their vehicles through our products, technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities. With more than 240 plants worldwide, we are where our customers need us to be. Consumers have enjoyed the comfort and style of our products, from single components to complete interiors. With our global capability we supply more than 50 million cars per year.

For more information, please contact:

Johnson Controls GmbH

Automotive Seating

Industriestrasse 20-30

51399 Burscheid


Ulrich Andree

Tel.: +49 2174 65-4343


Oliver Herkert

Tel.: +49 2174 65-4348



Follow us on Twitter: @JCseating

Johnson Controls Automotive Experience

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