Johnson Controls combines new colors and materials in its Special Effect Door

Unique design and translucent colors give a whole new look to automotive interiors

Burscheid, Germany (ots) - Johnson Controls, one of the world's leading suppliers of automotive interior systems, shows how new trends are changing the look and feel of auto-motive interiors. Designers and engineers at the company have been experimenting with new colors and material combinations, and the result is the Special Effect Door. It demonstrates what door panels might look like in future generations of Small and Lower Medium segment vehicles .

The basic model used to create the prototypes is the Smart door trim, manufactured by Johnson Controls. Company designers modeled several variations on the new approach in which unique materials and unusual colors meld together to create a harmonious look.

Responding to the request of a European automaker looking for innovative materials for a new Small segment vehicle, the company developed three prototypes of the Special Effect Door. But first, consumer researchers, designers and engineers at Johnson Controls set out to learn more about the small car driver - to get an idea of his or her lifestyle and expectations from a new vehicle.

Johnson Controls identified three trend types

The traditional small car owner is modern and open to new ideas. This attitude is demonstrated in both fashion tastes and the way modern homes are decorated. And it should also be embodied in the car that fits this lifestyle. Johnson Controls defined three basic trend types among Small segment vehicle owners, according to their predominant characteristics. These types can be classified as "Young Trendsetter", "Active Life" and "Glamour".

The company matched the three different styles to specific materials and colors, as can be seen in the corresponding prototypes. The "Young Trendsetter" thrives on change and enjoys fun and games. Lively colors and unique details appeal to this type.

This is reflected in the door prototype: the door panel carrier is a translucent light blue, like the color of frosted glass; door handle and map pocket glow in blue and white tones, while the middle section is covered in green fabric.

The "Active Life" type, on the other hand, is dynamic and interested in sports and fitness. Their vehicle has to be functional, down-to-earth and sturdy enough to support a variety of adventures. The "Active Life" prototype was designed to fit these conditions: plain green and olive tones are the dominant colors of the door panel. The highlight here is a solid-colored textured fabric, reminiscent of high-end upholstered furniture.

"Glamour" types love to make a grand entrance: chic and extravagant are the catchwords for this style. The "Glamour" Special Effect Door provides a glowing example of where a journey through the worlds of fashion and home design can lead: the carrier is glittering cherry red, with a fabric insert in a strongly contrasting beige tone. This glittering polypropylene, injection molded using a special coloring process, was developed jointly by Johnson Controls and partner company Clariant Masterbatch. Other special effects for the plastic surfaces of the Special Effect Door prototypes were also created in cooperation with this specialist in the area of plastic concentrates and technical compounds.

Futuristic design doesn't stop at doors

In creating these prototypes, Johnson Controls looked for inspiration from trends outside the world of the automotive industry. Colors quite different from the familiar spectrum of black, gray and beige can be found in these new interiors. In addition to new colors, fabrics typically associated with the furniture industry are now making their way into the world of cars. Thanks to the use of fresh colors, glitter effects and translucence, even conventional injection molding, the traditional standard for automotive interiors, is showing a brand new face.

The earlier Johnson Controls is included in the development process, the higher the level of design flexibility. In addition to the use of new materials and colors, the language of form can also be changed, thus offering automakers new opportunities in brand differentiation.

Johnson Controls, Inc. is one of the world's leading suppliers of automotive interior systems and facility management and control.

In the automotive market, it is one of the largest manufacturers of seating and interior systems as well as automotive batteries. For non-residential facilities, Johnson Controls provides building control systems and services, energy management and integrated facility management.

Johnson Controls (New York Stock Exchange: JCI), founded in 1885, has its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The European headquarters is in Burscheid, Germany. Its sales for 2002 totaled 20.1 billion US-Dollars, the Automotive Systems Group alone accounting for 15 billion US-Dollars of this figure. In the current "Industry Week" business magazine rankings, Johnson Controls has been listed as one of the top 100 best run companies in the world for the fifth time in succession.

A photo of the Special Effect Door can be obtained at http://www.johnsoncontrols-press.com/GB/gb_img.asp

Further press material and photos of Johnson Controls are available in the internet under www.johnsoncontrols-press.com and www.johnsoncontrols-presse.de in English, French and German.