DETROIT – Ever wish you could get back the time wasted trying in frustration to fish out pens, loose change and cell phones that fall into the narrow space between the driver’s seat and floor console?
Johnson Controls has a simple, elegant solution: a removable plastic trough in the shape of a horse shoe.
The “Catch Bin” appears in JCI’s Bespoke concept interior on display now for its international premiere at the North American International Auto Show here.
The world’s largest seat producer uses the Detroit auto show each year as a place to highlight new ideas for improving passenger comfort, interior design, electronic integration, storage and durability.
Attaching a plastic bin securely around the sides and rear of the floor console would prevent headaches for many drivers and eliminate the black hole where French fries, crumbs, spilled liquid and assorted stuff often end up. The plastic catch-all could be emptied, cleaned, dried and put back in place.
“Who has never lost a pen or coin or even a cell phone in the gap between the floor console and the seat?” asks Han Hendriks, vice president-advanced product development of electronics and interiors. “Probably everybody has.”
JCI does not yet have a contract to produce the bin, but the supplier says it is showing the device to customers this week. Response so far has been favorable.
The component, easily removable with the click of a button, is injection-molded from polypropylene.
The floor console also features advancements in storage and lighting, as well as a wireless charging dock for mobile devices.
The Bespoke concept is for premium vehicles and intended to embody the flair of a tailored suit.
“Bespoke demonstrates our latest electronic and interior innovations, as well as seating technology and products for the premium crossover-utility vehicle segment,” Hendriks says.
JCI’s design studios in North America, China and Europe worked on the concept, geared for multiple markets.
The concept includes enhanced premium leather surfaces and a simple user interface to improve the driving experience, via a new center information display and instrument cluster.
Another achievement on the Bespoke concept is the “zero gap” that exists between the door trim and instrument panel.
In many vehicles, the unsightly gap is as wide as 0.3 ins. (8 mm) when the door is closed, posing a fit-and-finish quandary that has nagged designers since the advent of the automobile, Hendriks says.
“We didn’t minimize the gap. We reduced it to zero,” he says. “We eliminated the gap between the door and instrument panel for a high-quality feel.”
Designers managed to close the gap with a suspended stretch fabric and partially by flowing the ends of the trim that surrounds the instrument panel until it lines up parallel with the door trim.
In addition, the instrument panel is positioned nearer to the driver, allowing most of the seam to be completely hidden when the door is closed.
The Bespoke concept also includes JCI’s new eco-friendly Gen 3 Synergy Seat, which features premium trim and incorporates a powered head restraint and slim profile to save interior space, while improving comfort.
Also at NAIAS, JCI unveils its first complete vehicle interior concept designed for the Chinese market. The Hongqi (which means “Red Flag”) H7 vehicle is aimed at government officials and luxury vehicle buyers.
Staff at JCI’s two joint-venture plants in Changchun designed the concept for China's historic Red Flag brand.
JCI content includes seats, instrument panel, door panels and floor console, as well as an instrument cluster that incorporates the supplier’s first human-machine interface for China.