Anti-microbial coatings in cars in demand
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are much more self-aware when it comes to personal safety and hygiene. Industry Week published an article, stating that over 54% of car buyers are willing to pay more for antimicrobial coatings in their car interiors. Although COVID-19 is not a microbe, this is an interesting development because anti-microbial materials that are well-suited to car interiors have been available for a long time.
An anti-microbial coating would concern a specialized polymer coating on high touch surfaces, as the full interior coating is not economically viable (or likely interesting). The emergence of shared mobility has already prompted questions regarding interior hygiene and maintainability, which have become key factors in the future of car interiors. However, this trend of non-ownership may have seen a major setback, as the pandemic has caused consumers to value the idea of personal vehicles. Retaining shared mobility offers a big opportunity for the automotive leather industry.
However, there are simpler solutions such as changing the materials we use in car interiors. Collagen, from which leather is made, provides an ideal environment for microbial growth and antimicrobial agents are, therefore, used throughout the leather-making processes. This results in dirt and bacteria repelling properties embedded in the leather protein structure. Anti-microbial agents are applied only to the surface of plastic alternatives and these can easily abrade away during the products lifetime use - leather, therefore, has a more durable benefit to offer. Although we want safety, part of this rests on having fewer chemicals used in the production of leather for car interiors. Leather is the best option there.
Read the full article here.