Westlake Village, California – Trim Masters Inc., a joint venture of Toyota Boshoku and Johnson Controls, has ranked highest overall in automotive seat quality for its seventh consecutive year, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
The 2009 Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study found that Trim Masters ranked highest of companies in the study, with a quality score of 2.8 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The company supplies seats for the Toyota Avalon and Camry built in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Lower PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidences and higher quality. Trim Masters improved from 3.8 PP100 in 2008, and receives a score that is well below the industry average of 5.7 PP100. Seats supplied by Trim Masters have no reported problems for eight of the 17 seat-related problem areas.
TS Tech Company followed at 3.6 P100, while Toyo Seat Company ranked third at 3.8 PP100.
Overall, the number of reported problems has decreased in 2009 from an average of 6.2 PP100 to 2008, to 5.7 PP100 in 2009. Of the 17 problem areas examined, only one – headrest controls difficult to understand or use – have improved or remained stable from 2008. Difficulty with using or understanding headrest adjustment controls is the most commonly-reported seat-related problem among customers in 2009, increasing nearly 30 per cent from 2008.
“Seat quality is continuing to improve, but design-related issues still account for 70 per cent of seat problems experienced by owners,” said Allison LaDuc, senior research manager of automotive product quality at J.D. Power. “While increasing features and functionality of the seats may help to satisfy customers, it’s also important for manufacturers and dealers to ensure that new-vehicle owners are informed of the proper way to operate their seat controls. This may go a long way in reducing the incidence of design-related problems.”
The study also found that additional features have a positive effect on overall seat satisfaction, with consumers rating higher satisfaction with memory settings, and cooled or ventilated seats.