Clarkson ridicules Honda seat

In a recent Top Gear episode, Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the new Honda Civic R and in particular singled out the driver’s seat for criticism.


Jeremy’s issue was that on a car costing north of £18,000 the driver’s seat has no memory function. He commented “How’s this for a brainwave? You want to get something out of the backseat so you get out, pull the lever, tip the seat forward, get whatever it is you wanted, pop the seat back and it assumes that in the brief moment you were out of the car you’ve become Richard Hammond. Why doesn’t it go back to where you left it? I mean what were they thinking of?”


This shortcoming was picked up by a leading Tier 1 seat supplier who commissioned automotive seating experts The Seat Design Company to take the existing seat and develop full memory functionality with minimum or no modification to the current seat frame structure, styling, performance, occupant position, ergonomics, foam, trim and plastics or vehicle body. The timeline was to be 4-6 weeks.


SDC used their extensive analytical capability to take the existing 3D CAD data and assess the performance specifications and requirements within the relative package and vehicle constraints. This was put into context by conducting a series of benchmarking studies to understand the market and vehicle comparison data.


The next step was to develop a design strategy to meet the required objectives and to deliver within the project timing.


Using in-house design and development facilities including metal and trim capability, proprietary memory mechanisms were successfully integrated within the frame assembly structure to provide a full memory system (variable memory tracks and recliners) and yet still sit within the tight envelope available within the vehicle. Carry over content of 85% of the current frame was achieved and occupant position, logistics, comfort, performance and overall styling were not affected.


Finally SDC used in house capability to manufacture the required bracketry, jigs and fixtures and produce a fully trimmed prototype, determine relative piece and tooling cost estimates, weight implications (reduction), program actions and timing. 


This in itself was something which would be hard to match elsewhere in the industry but in addition it was successfully achieved within just 4 weeks of the study being commissioned. 


SDC can be contacted via david.smith@seatdesign.com