Magna tops J.D. Power seat quality study

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Canadian auto supplier Magna International manufacturers some of the best seats in the industry, according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study.

Magna finished an industry-leading first in three of seven categories, and second in a fourth. Lear Corporation and Bridgewater Interiors each won a pair of categories.

Magna earned top spot in the mass-market compact SUV segment for its seats in the Ontario-made Chevrolet Equinox; finished first in the luxury car division for seating in the BMW Z4; and topped the luxury SUV category with its seats in the BMW X6. It’s seating in the Ford Edge, also built in Ontario, finished second behind Bridgewater’s Honda Pilot seats in the mass-market midsize/large SUV category.

“Our secret to making sophisticated seating systems, like the optional one on the X6 with its 20-way power-adjustable multi-contour and massaging front seats? It’s all about designing with manufacturing in mind,” Frank Eupizi, Magna Seating group director of engineering, said in a blog post celebrating the wins on the supplier’s website. “We start with consumer clinics and focus groups to get real-world feedback, and then enlist the help of our “comfort team,” a group with degrees in the bio-sciences who develop guidelines for state-of-the-art seats, and then work hand-in-hand with our seating engineers to drive comfort levels even higher.”

The 2020 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 87,282 purchasers and lessees of new 2020 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study was fielded from February through May 2020.

Seat quality is measured by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership, with a lower number reflecting higher quality.

“In addition to insufficient range of adjustment, the vast majority of seat problems cited by vehicle owners are also design-related,” Brent Gruber, senior director of global automotive quality at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “If seat manufacturers and car brands can incorporate customer feedback earlier in the design process, many of these issues can be mitigated prior to reaching the market.

Eupizi said Magna recently launched online Centers of Excellence, “a one-stop shop for Magna engineers to delve further into 32 areas that lead to improved product design and manufacturing.”

“This process ensures our ability to maintain high quality standards across the world and to learn from each other,” he said. 

The company has created an app to increase speed of seat development.

The Magna Craftsmanship App debuted in June at the supplier’s 11 North American facilities. It will eventually roll out to all Magna Seating plants worldwide. 

By using the app, a plant’s craftsmanship engineer can monitor processes leading up to product launch, guarantee best practices and share instant results with the rest of the team. 

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Saurabh Shukla

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