Johnson Controls presents new "Open Seating" concept at North American International Auto Show 2004 in Detroit / More comfort and functionality in vehicle rear compartments

Burscheid, Germany/Detroit, Michigan (ots) - This week at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Johnson Controls, one of the world's leading suppliers of automotive interior systems and electronics, will be presenting its new and innovative "Open Seating" concept. The "Open Seating" complete seating system enhances comfort and functionality in the second and third rows of cars, trucks and minivans. "Open Seating" offers the comfort and styling of industry-leading front-row seats for rear compartments of vehicles. When stowed away, it has a much smaller footprint, enhancing a vehicle's cargo capacity.

Variable seating concept enhances comfort, cargo space, and utility

This new seating system features side bolsters that provide comfort similar to the front row when the seat is deployed, and fold completely flat when it is stowed. "Open Seating" deploys or stows away with ease in one fluid motion to create a true zero-degree, fold-flat load floor, freeing up maximum cargo capacity. When stowed, the seat is just 135 millimeters thick. The product is available for integration into 2007 model-year vehicles. One of the keys to the "Open Seating" concept is the "WingBack" contour presentation technology, which enables the seat to provide contour and lateral support when deployed. The technology delivers a seat that is comfortable, thin and optically appealing. In the past, it has been difficult to deliver a true, fold-flat seat without compromising on comfort and design. "Open Seating" now makes this possible. It provides an improved distribution of back pressure for enhanced comfort, as well as a level of lateral support comparable to front-row bucket seats. The technology can be applied to all vehicle segments, and all rows with folding seat backs. It also enables a vehicle's styling theme and trim outline to be carried from the front row to the second- and third-row areas.

New seating concept is versatile and functional

"The 'Open Seating' concept is unique for a folding or stowable seat and a first for the industry," said John Gorton, Vice President and General Manager, Product and Business Development for Johnson Controls. "Consumers want more versatility and functionality from the rear areas of their vehicle cabins, and this product provides such traits in a very innovative way." Consumers no longer need to remove third-row seats to gain additional cargo capacity. Instead of removing the seats, they can be folded flat. In addition, "Open Seating" is designed to be user-friendly, since it can be operated easily from either a vehicle's second-row or tailgate areas. The "WingBack" technology was jointly developed by Johnson Controls and Schukra/Leggett & Platt, a leading lumbar and seating comfort technology firm based in Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada.

Johnson Controls, Inc. is one of the world's leading suppliers of automo-tive interior systems and interior electronics, as well as in the areas of facility management and control. In the automotive market, the company is a major supplier of vehicle seating and interior systems and batteries. For non-residential facilities, Johnson Controls is one of the leading providers of building control components and systems as well as energy management and facility management services. Johnson Controls (New York Stock Exchange: JCI), founded in 1885, has its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The European headquarters is in Burscheid, Germany. The company's worldwide sales for 2003 totaled US$22.6 billion, the Automotive Group alone accounting for US$17 billion 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 sixth time in succession.