Burscheid, Germany - Fiat Group's new Fiat 500, recently named "Car of the Year 2008," uses seating and door panels designed and made on a just-in-time basis by major automotive interiors supplier Johnson Controls Inc.
The newly designed seating for this model, which has already achieved cult status, according to JCI, has "attractive looks and solid construction," the interiors group said.
Also, JCI said, the combined efficiency of three manufacturing plants in Poland and Slovakia has cut the production times for supply to Fiat's Tychy, Poland, plant.
Johnson Controls uses its Bieru, Poland plant to make the seating and its Námestovo plant in Slovakia makes the door panels for this redesign of the legendary Italian small car.
Parts reach the Fiat 500 plant in Tychy near Krakow on a "just-in-time" basis.
Metal frames are made by the Siemianowice plant in Poland and, JCI is supplying door panels direct to Tychy, with no need for any subcontractors, which has helped Fiat Group streamline its production and supply channels.
"This has led to minimal delivery times," the group said.
JCI also shortened the prototype phase for the door panels, using virtual design software. Parts have scratch-resistant surfaces, while the armrests also have soft touch appeal.
Consumers can choose from many different fabric and colour combinations for the seating and the covers are embossed to look like decorative stitching.
"The fact that the Fiat 500 earned the coveted "five-star" rating in the Euro NCAP Test is due in no small part to its solid seating, which contributes significantly to the high degree of occupant safety," said Marzio Raveggi, vice president and general manager of the Fiat Customer Business Unit at Johnson Controls, in the JCI statement. In addition, the seats come with a standard airbag and a seat occupancy sensor for the acoustic seat-belt reminder signal.