Johnson Controls raises the bar with its interior for the new Opel Astra / Upscale interior for greater comfort

Burscheid, Germany (ots) - No other car is being awaited with more eager anticipation at the moment than the new Opel Astra: dynamic design, innovative technology, high safety standards - the Astra has what it takes to raise the bar for today's Compact Segment. And the car's high-end interior is part of the reason why. The Astra interior was created by Johnson Controls, one of the world's leading suppliers of automotive interior systems, interior electronics and batteries. In addition to the complete seating system, the instrument panel and the overhead systems, Johnson Controls also developed the door and pillar trim and sun visors. The system integrator brought diverse facets together in the course of the "Astra Interior" project, with colors, materials and fabrics blended to form a harmonious whole.

Stylistic statement: instrument panel with crease

In keeping with the design principle of "form follows function", the first question to be asked even before the initial sketches were made at the styling studios in Rüsselsheim was: Which materials can provide optimal fit, sharp and incisive radii, narrow seams and exemplary surface feel? Only once the right answers had been found with the help of specialists at Johnson Controls was a design concept for the interior developed based on these selections. Manfred Rotterdam, Vice President and General Manager GM/Opel at Johnson Controls comments, "The interior of the new Astra fits like a glove. We've created a harmony of fine tactile quality, high-grade materials and a generous sense of space." The interior is characterized throughout by dynamic forms that echo the exterior mood. A conspicuous stylistic signature is the characteristic bend running down the middle of the clearly structured control panel below the monitor. This bend picks up the crease in the hood and carries it by way of the instrument panel right through into the interior. Johnson Controls experts also paid special attention to the grain of all plastic parts. A novel structure with tiny irregularities gives the graining in the new Astra a unified appearance and offers a significantly enhanced look and feel in comparison with previous models.

Harmonious transitions from cockpit to doors

For the door panels Johnson Controls developed a new production technique, known as "In-Mold Graining". Used in production for the first time, this processing technology provides a great deal of design freedom, preventing graining loss in even the most narrow of radii.

These measurable improvements in the interior are joined by elements that further reinforce a feeling of deluxe spaciousness, including harmonious transitions from cockpit to door panels, the generously proportioned center console and the optically merged twin middle vent louvers. Added functionality is afforded as well: objects such as sunglasses or keys can easily be stowed in the cockpit, map pockets, the front section of the middle armrest or the glove compartment.

More seating comfort and greater versatility in the rear

The seats developed by Johnson Controls offer not only more side support, but also an active head restraint system. In case of a crash the head restraints actively incline forwards, thus minimizing the distance between head and neck; the danger of whiplash is signi-ficantly reduced. In addition, the plastic levers for adjusting seat height have been given a new grain and a more intuitive operating technique. And there's something new in the rear as well: the rear seat bench has been equipped with a so-called 40-20-40 percent division, providing a high degree of variability.

Focus on the driver

Johnson Controls based many of its interior design decisions on one key aspect: consumer research. Drivers were surveyed in several studies in order to find out just what they like and what they don't. They touched and felt, evaluated and tested a range of different automotive interiors.

In the new Astra these analyses culminated in an interior that offers a standard of quality normally found only in the higher segments. This becomes evident, for example, where instrument panel, glove compartment and center console meet, three different elements made of three different materials. Manfred Rotterdam remarks, "And the whole nonetheless gives a wonderfully coherent impression. All of the seams run absolutely regularly, with no visible tolerances." For the consumers this is just one of many mosaic pieces that unconsciously come together to produce a positive overall picture.

Photos will be available under www.johnsoncontrols-press.com.