One of the biggest contributions a Tier 1 supplier can make is to integrate innovative ideas into a complete package for an automaker. One of the year's most interesting concept packages was Johnson Controls' interior for the Kion that debuted at the Paris auto show in September.
The concept car incorporates the results of the company's consumer surveys and innovations from partners, such as Sagem's dual-plane instrument cluster.
This cluster separates primary vehicle information such as the odometer and the fuel level from secondary information such as temperature, oil level, time and navigation system information.
The front seats are attached to feet rather than rails, while each passenger has his or her own 'infotainment system communication pillar' that can be equipped with a monitor, microphone and loudspeakers, and has laptop or notepad connection ports.
Kion's interior is designed to be a 'home away from home.' The focus is on warm, friendly colors fitted in open, cheerful-looking arrangement.
The Kion's communication center between the well-spaced two front seats helps to create a hub in the core of the vehicle and changes the feel of the passenger compartment to a more communal space.
The seats are designed to allow easier communication between front and rear, and the concept incorporates the latest multimedia products, including wireless and hands-free communication. Additional interior flexibility is gained by the removal of the spare tire, which allows the bench/sofa-like rear seat to travel forward and backward. The lack of a spare tire - because Michelin's PAX-system run flat tires are used - creates stowage space beneath the trunk floor.