The way we use our cars is changing and this affects our choice of interiors. Through the years our vehicles have become more silent and luxurious, but electronic driving is opening up whole new possibilities, and demands new comfort standards.

Shared mobility is the latest trend that shakes up our modes of transport and with people looking for durable purchases, we demand more from our car interiors. Leather has always been a desirable choice for interior seat and trim and not without reason; the material has many functional properties coupled with outstanding performance and durability.

Preferred interior material through the ages

Leather has been a part of our modes of travel for ages, from sedan chairs and carriages to our modern day yachts, public transport, airplanes and cars. Historically, it has always been a preferred material for a number of reasons and one of them is its longevity and endurance. Even on old cars there might be some rust here and there, but the leather, if treated well, remains in pristine condition. But those are big words; what properties does leather actually have that give it such an extended lifetime?

Strong and resilient

Your car is used daily and that includes the interior. Every time you go for a drive, you sit down on your seat, you handle the steering wheel and perhaps you put a cup of coffee in the holder. You hit a bump, the coffee spills. You squirm in your seat as you sit down on your keys. You pick up your youngest child from football practice, who jumps in the backseat with dirty shoes and all, denting the trimming on the door with the shoe spikes. All this is a daily ritual for us and the interior bears it with us. That requires some exceptional performance qualities.

Leather has a notable advantage on other interior materials, such as synthetics and woven fabrics. This is due to its natural origin, which makes it a material that is made to adapt and respond to a diversity of circumstances. For example, it can take a remarkable amount of tension and recover without tearing, and its adaptability prevents cracking and makes it rub-fast (color won’t rub off the leather). Hides are made to protect and contain, which is a quality leather retains. So it can handle that jump onto the seat, and the imprint of the soccer shoes.

Leather has been a part of our modes of travel for ages, from sedan chairs and carriages to our modern day yachts, public transport, airplanes and cars

Enhancing finishes to repel liquids, dirt and bacteria

Leather by itself is well conditioned to repel liquids and dirt, but thanks to high-end finishes it becomes even more resistant to soiling, staining, scuffing and scratching. Leather has a flex resistance that knows no equal, which also ensures excellent adhesion of flexible coating systems, which rarely crack or peel, making it a top choice for interiors. The spilled coffee or perhaps a drop of water from a bottle will stay on the surface and can be easily cleaned. That’s because leather is water-resistant and this can be enhanced with coatings (they used to even use leather for drinking vessels).

Only in extremely moist circumstances might leather not be able to handle the moisture and need a little hand. Additionally, it’s a bacteria and bug repellant material, which is a huge plus in vehicles that we use increasingly. With the dawn of shared mobility, these qualities can offer a huge advantage in car maintenance, though proper care is still required.

Leather moves with the conditions it’s in

Heat and cold can greatly affect materials, as it can make them swell and shrink which could cause severe deterioration over time. This is particularly true for compound materials, which lack the ability to handle changing conditions. Leather has that ability in its very nature as it expands and shrinks with heat to preserve its integrity A lot of this has to do with the porous fiber structure that can expand to breathe, but also contract by closing. In fact, leather is one of the most flame retardant materials thanks to its natural ability to resist heat. It’ll maintain its color and appearance, even with continuous exposure to sunlight thanks to excellent lightfastness. Day in, day out, your automotive interior will maintain its supple, comfortable nature, ready for the next drive.

Curious what makes automotive leather unique? Find out why the leather in your car is special.

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