Johnson Controls slim seats

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.


Related GalleryJohnson Controls super-slim stowable pickup seats
Johnson Controls super-slim stowable pickup seats

[Source: Johnson Controls]
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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.