Premiere of new Recaro Sport Seat Platform

Frankfurt. Recaro Automotive Seating will present its Sport Seat concept for future platform applications for the first time at the 2013 IAA International Motor Show. The innovative combination of lightweight design using common parts with a customer-specific “look and feel” makes the highest degree of modularity possible. The start of production of the new Recaro Sport Seat Platform is planned for 2016.

“With the new Recaro Sport Seat Platform, we are presenting our OEM customers a solution that implements a completely new idea using a novel combination of lightweight materials with proven technologies. And like many of the truly winning innovations, our concept follows the approach that simplification is the key to any art,” explains Elmar Deegener, Vice President and General Manager of Recaro Automotive Seating. Before it began working on the design of this new product generation, the premium seat producer conducted an extensive assessment of current and future customer and market needs. For example, the needs and requirements for the sport seat of the future were determined using a series of systematic feedback interviews with different vehicle manufacturers. With its new product, Recaro Automotive Seating is appealing to the manufacturers of sporty vehicles made based on global platforms as well as small-volume producers and sports car manufacturers. This corresponds to vehicle segments ranging from purebred sports cars to sporty derivatives of vehicles produced in high volumes, up to sporty and dynamic premium class vehicles.

“Differentiation is the decisive criterion, especially in this huge market segment made up of countless performance vehicles. At the same time, the ability to stand out and differentiate yourself must be affordable for the individual vehicle manufacturer, and it must be feasible within tight development timeframes,” explains Deegener.

This approach is embodied by the new Recaro Sport Seat Platform: Drawing upon the DNA of the Recaro brand – sportiness, ingenious design, ergonomics, lightweight and safety – the Recaro development team has created a design that addresses the seat’s load-bearing structure and its design shell separately.

The very unique backrest structure can be considered the innovative backbone of the new product generation. Recaro uses a combination of carbon and foam in a sandwich construction in the structure. The seat’s substructure and the high-strength steel backrest adjuster are connected to the backrest in a crash-proof design that uses an innovative new fastening concept. But more than just the backrest’s combination of materials is new; it’s bold unusual form and shape are as well. The new backrest embraces the back like a belt, providing perfect ergonomic support at key points, almost like a second skin. “We were able to fully utilize the unique material characteristics of carbon to design the shape of the back so well that you can even sit in it comfortably without upholstery”, Deegener continues. An additional innovation is the headrest, which is integrated into the backrest and provides active crash protection.

A series of ingeniously combined characteristics also makes the new backrest structure truly exceptional in terms of weight. The new product weighs about 40 percent less than a backrest for a comparable conventional sport seat from Recaro.

“We achieve this weight reduction through the combination of different disciplines of lightweight design: The seat’s ergonomically optimized shape saves material. Instead of steel, we use lightweight carbon,” Deegener explains. “Overall, by cleverly integrating several functions, we need fewer components. Furthermore, for the components we were able to draw upon the top-notch products in Johnson Controls’ current metals portfolio.”

For example, the Taumel 3000 recliner is not only best in its class in terms of weight and space requirements, but for this application it has been integrated into the backrest frame and the side section of the seat frame in a highly crash-proof way. This means that the new Recaro Sport Seat Platform’s products also meet the strictest safety requirements. These products are intended for the generation of vehicles that will appear on the market starting in 2016, for example with a recliner in the 2,500 newton meter load class and additional established safety features such as a crashactive headrest.

The Recaro brand also has a long heritage of independent and bold design. This Recaro “DNA” is immediately apparent in this new product generation. The backrest structure inside of the seat is enclosed by a second, slim design shell that is just as light. The advantage of this dichotomy is that the exterior skin is variable in its surface structure, feel, color and contour accents, meaning that it can be adjusted in almost every way to meet customerspecific design requests. The design and materials used in the foam parts and seat covering offer similar advantages.

The new product generation’s optically “light” design gives designers of vehicle interiors a lot more room to maneuver, in the truest sense of the word. Through its small 145 millimeter block dimensions and its slim proportions, the seat’s space requirements in the vehicle’s interior are reduced.

The principle of separating the backrest structure from the design shell gives the new Sport Seat Platform an exceptionally high degree of modularity. Standardization and global availability will be the invisible but integral characteristics of the backrest and substructure. Starting with the manually adjusted basic version, these can be equipped with common features according to the individual wishes of the customer, meaning that all additional functions are available off the shelf. The new Sport Seat Platform’s visible design shell and its selection of upholstery canbe designed for specific customers. Series production of the new Sport Seat Platform is expected to begin in 2016.