4 Trends in Interior Automotive Design

Interior automotive design was disrupted by a global pandemic in 2020. Many innovative projects were put on hold, creating a backlog of big ideas. 2021 is the year that these moonshots are put into action. Many of those initiatives are being planned right now. Designers and engineers are being charged with delivering four consistent outcomes:

  1. Premium Experienceshutterstock_761045767
  2. Durability
  3. Light weight
  4. Flexibility

Let’s look at how and why these trends are so common.

Premium Experience:

The future of automation calls for a premium interior design. In many ways, the pandemic has validated this. People spent less time driving to work, but more time driving elsewhere. They drove out into the wilderness more in 2020 than any year previous. Drive In movies made a miraculous comeback. Consumers turned to their cars to get away without going anywhere. The Experience of driving took on new meaning. Projects must replicate the quality of the experience in the quality of the interior.


Consumers are driving premium vehicles longer than ever before. Your brand’s reputation is defined by how the interior of the car holds up over 6+ years. Leather seats tend to loosen around seat cushions, causing permanent pockets of loose leather. Consider the additional wear and tear to a vehicle as you use it more often for adventures and entertainment. Consumers want to know there will be resale value when they trade in. New innovations must be focused on improving the lifespan of interior features.

Achieving these outcomes requires collaboration between manufacturers and suppliers. Alignment on a set of initiatives and timelines must be established. In our ebook “2021 Automotive Interior Trends”, we lay out a roadmap for achieving success. You will find insight into design, manufacturing best practices and how to iterate quickly.

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Light Weight:

Regulations over the next few years will mandate stricter emissions standards than ever before. According to a recent McKinsey study, lighter material saves .08g CO2 per kilogram. To ensure a viable model, lighter materials will need to be considered. Replacing Velcro with tapes and adhesives is bringing seat weights down dramatically. As OEMs strive to be better stewards of our world, reducing emissions is essential to the future of automation. Designers who can source new, lighter alternatives will bring the company tremendous value.


Flexibility in design and manufacturing processes is essential in delivering great solutions. When new ideas are brought to bear, this puts a strain on process. Designers want to know that their suppliers can work well with Tier 1, 2 & 3 suppliers. New solutions that can work within current processes will be more widely accepted. Working with suppliers willing to customize specs will allow you to realize more dreams.

Next Steps

With these core concepts in mind, focus on the how of implementation. To think through this with an engineer download the ebook, or complete the form below.