Get ready for a flurry of fake fur, leather and more glamorous car interiors, according to Ford.
Ford Australia's Colour and Trim Design Manager, Sharon Gauci says the resurgence of leather and faux fur in fashion will lead the charge.
"Leather and faux fur are huge in fashion at the moment so it is not surprising that they are going to have a big influence in car interiors over the next 12 to 24 months," she says.
Ms Gauci is responsible for developing exterior colour ranges for Ford's Australian-built vehicles as well as finishes on all vehicle interior surfaces.
Besides fashion, she says, trends in architecture, industrial and interior design and soft furnishings are driving changes in every facet of the car from exterior colour, seat fabric, carpets, wood grain and plastic finishes.
"The preference over the past decade in car interiors has been towards more matt finishes," she says. "But customers can expect a shift towards a glossier and more glamorous look for car interiors in the next decade.
"This trend is being driven by the resurgence of shimmering effects in cosmetics, metallic plastics in product design such as mobile phones, and the use of shiny, smooth leather and leather-look fabrics, suede and faux fur in fashion. "Leather and leather-look fabrics have been classic materials used in cars since they were invented but this new trend is about using leather in different ways," Sharon explains. "The focus is on finish and texture with lots of emphasis on details such as stitching, embossing, quilting, using leather cut-outs and mixing pieces of leather. The look is of crafted leather. "The influence of faux fur from fashion into cars will be seen in the pile of fabrics used in interior finishes. Fabrics will become shinier, glossier, smoother with a strong brushing and napping effect." She says nature is also behind the trend towards greater use of natural colours in car interiors such as gold, off-white, camel and browns. "These colours are soothing and create a sense of calm within the interior. Expect to see these colours enhanced with dark wood finishes, currently popular in designer furniture." Also predicted are new trends in car exterior colours.
"Colours emerging over the next two years vary from particularly rich, warm purples, lilacs, reds and burgundies, to striking mixes of soothing, grounded colours of camel, dark brown and orange, to the clean industrial colours of white and pure silver.
"Beyond the next couple of years, there will be the emergence of hot acid brights like lime chartreuse and muted, greener versions of chartreuse, industrial greys and colours inspired from liquid sources such as clean, pure bright colour saturations and dehydrated, greyer softer undertones."
Trends in industries as diverse as telecommunications, architecture and health also will be echoed in car interiors, she says.
"Plastics with metallic parts and tinted clear plastics in colours of yellow, blue and purple featured in computers and telephones at the moment will emerge in some form in cars of the future. The interior mechanics of products used to be hidden from view but now transparent plastics are revealing and featuring this technology and hardware.
"There are also ongoing advances in paints, for example, with metallic finishes and even paint which changes with the touch of a hand."
Materials from fashion, interior and industrial design such as mesh and stretch fabrics are being looked at for application in car interiors. New research is even looking at fabrics with medicinal and aromatic qualities.
According to Sharon Gauci, changes happening in vehicle trim and colour are designed to offer more choice to individual customers.
"Customers are exposed to so much choice in their everyday lives, they naturally expect it from their cars. They want to choose colours, fabrics, finishes which suit their tastes and lifestyles."
This drive to customise vehicles is leading to a more holistic approach to interior trim and design within Ford Australia, she says.
"I think you will see more linking of interior and exterior colour and trim of our cars coming onto the market over the next couple of years. We have thought of everything – blending interior and exterior colours, carpets with seat fabrics, wood and other finishes to create a seamless, harmonious transfer from the outside to the inside of the car."
As reported on www.drive.com.au