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Johnson Controls super-slim stowable pickup seats – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ever wondered why the rear seats in pickup trucks are so bulky? Johnson Controls apparently had similar thoughts, as the supplier has unveiled a styling buck showcasing its super-slim stowable pickup seats.

The seats offer improvements in two respects. Johnson Controls says they're lightweight, which should help improve fuel economy, and they take up a third less space, meaning that when stowed, the seats should allow for greater cargo capacity. The seats in the Johnson Controls mock-up also are also 3.9 inches lower than most standard seats, which improves rear visibility and passenger safety, though we wonder if that'll also result in an awkward knees-up posture for the backseat riders. That said, the seats reportedly contain 50 percent more padding, which should translate to more comfort.

Johnson Controls claims that in addition to the improvements detailed above, the new seats are fully compliant with all applicable safety standards. Hit the jump to read the official press release, and have a close look at the low-profile seats in the gallery below.

Johnson Controls super-slim stowable pickup seats
  • Johnson Controls super-slim stowable pickup seats

[Source: Johnson Controls]
Show full PR text
Burscheid, Germany – 28 March 2011. Johnson Controls, a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics, introduced a new design for second row seats in pickup trucks. When stowed, the Slim Stow Seat takes up 33 percent less space, maximizes seating comfort and is lighter weight compared to traditional rear truck seats. It also improves visibility for the driver.

"Our Slim Stow Seat enables us to set new standards in foldable rear seats in pickups," said Dr. Andreas Eppinger, Vice President Technology Management at Johnson Controls Automotive Experience. "It surpasses previous seating concepts in terms of comfort, cargo space and appearance. It also improves visibility when stowed since the seat back is lowered 100 millimeters."

Side-bolsters integrate the passenger in the seat
The seat panel consists of two components. The upper part, a tubular frame design, features the child seat attachment points and defined side-bolsters. Through this unique design, the Slim Stow Seat also provides lateral support and contour that is usually found exclusively in front-row pickup truck seating.

The lower part of the seat features a stable arm. It carries the seat pad, which features 50 percent more foam than usual in the relevant areas. "This, together with the side-bolsters, ensures superior comfort while fulfilling safety requirements," explained Eppinger. "Even with the bolsters and padding, the seat's movement enables space-saving stowage."

Easy handling and optimized visibility due to downward-sliding backrest

* The Slim Stow Seat deploys and stows using an intuitive, one-hand operation, making it easy to reconfigure the interior space from outside the vehicle.
* The seat stows behind the truck's rear panel wall maximizing cargo space while providing an unprecedented, clean appearance.
* By pushing the seatback rearward, the kinematics shift it downward by approximately 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) to increase visibility and safety.

Seat sets new standards
During a series of in-house benchmark tests, the Technology & Advanced Development Group compared the Slim Stow Seat with the rear seats of four of the most popular pickup trucks. "The Slim Stow Seat sets new standards in all categories tested, which included cargo capacity, user friendliness, seating comfort, material compression and ease of assembly," said Eppinger. Further advantages include weight savings, enabled by a 30 percent reduction in the usage of materials.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Always focused on the rear, right Shunk? :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        Haha only the die hards get that one!

        The seats in the Colorado concept looked extremely thin... Could that be the first application for these seats?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wish I had had more Johnson Control when I was in my teens.

      Anyone remember those terrible sideways seats in some small pickups in the '90s? You know, the ones that probably crippled anyone unfortunate enough to be sitting in one during even a minor fender-bender?
        • 4 Years Ago
        +1 for a "Johnson Controls" joke
        • 4 Years Ago
        The funny thing about those is that I prefer them to regular back seats in smaller trucks like the Tacoma. That thing has zero room for a normal size human being in the back on the extended cab.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh look! They took a picture of the back seats in my Honda Ridgeline. How does this make the news? Seats like this already exist, are light/easy to fold and like I said already exist.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are correct. This has been done 6 years ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        These are seats for full size pickups that take up less room than the Ridgeline's seats, and there is no annoying folding 'U' support bar like on the Ridgeline. The other neat thing they do is reduce seat-back height when folded, so there is better rear window visibility.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It isn't sagging Hank, the camera used is a wide angle, to get a close shot but still contain the entire seat in the image. Having ridden in a seat that this would be replacing yesterday, comfort could not get any worse so I encourage the new design.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, because the leading edge of that seat cushion is below the horizon line in that photo (the horizon would be up above the rear cowl or top of the seatback), the seat should be "smiling", with the outboard edge of that cushion seeming to be above the inboard edge, not "frowning" (or sagging towards the outside, as Hank described).

        Hank's right; That seat is sagging towards the outside.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If there is one thing the rear seats in a pickup needs its even less comfort.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I'm reading the release correctly, the 3.9" gain in visibility is with the seats stowed. Although this sort of setup probably won't do much to improve comfort (even with the additional padding), this does look like a more practical approach since it seems many of those seats are usually carrying toolboxes and gym bags anyway.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think I would have made sure the seat wasn't sagging to the outside before releasing the press photo. Just sayin'.
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