To inspire automotive OEMs, (original equipment manufacturer manufacturers), and industry experts, Stahl Design Studiois releasing its latest collection of future trend forecasts. The collection, titled Automotive Design Inspiration 2020, captures the latest developments that are transforming automotive interiors. Caroline Hartmann, Design Manager Mobility, captures these latest trends, creating a vital tool for the automotive industry. 

Sustainability is a very important pillar in what we do and our customers expect us to be very active in this area. We have a lot of activities going on in our R&D department, and all other areas, and have appointed Michael Costello as Director of Sustainability to emphasize the importance of this topic for Stahl. He is involved in a lot of activities all over the world, such as the Ganges Pollution Reduction Project. As soon as Stahl develops something new, for example a greener finishing solution, we are informed and use the new technology in our collections to present our newest developments and their design potential to our customers.

Trends we see emerging in the near future are paired directly technology advancements. Take the new Rinspeed metroSNAP concept car, we show some of the central tendencies for the future: shared mobility, automated driving, and sustainable design. A strange novelty in this car is the airplane seats, which serve to demonstrate the changing role of seating that comes with shared mobility. Cars will be used more like a fleet, similar to mass transportation by airplanes. This requires interior material coatings that are very resistant to dirt, stains, and damage, but also have a luxurious appearance. Stahl has perfectly-fitting solutions to meet this requirement. We try, in our trend collections, to give a wide overview of inspirations and trends. This collection is shown globally and provides ideas for each client to choose from as what best suits his or her requirements. Some might prefer natural and pure designs, whereas others love strong effects and color statements, technical textures or smart surfaces. Concept cars or advanced projects but are not yet ready for mass production are in the development stage, in which we try to innovate with new, advanced technologies. Some concepts ready for production and some are nearly ready for production, but it may take some time to make it feasible.

The idea of a car interior as a third living space, a comfortable environment to reside in with a lounge feeling, is an important trend. It will drive demand for more natural and luxurious materials, but also sustainable options. A vintage look, for example, will become more popular. At the same time, emotions play a huge part in how we experience car interiors. Feeling and touch are the keywords here, for which Stahl offers a variety of surface solutions. As technology advances, smart surfaces will also offer more convenience, which is something our R&D team is eagerly working on. More and more, the industry looks to the future, and new sustainable materials are developed and studied, such as those made with eucalyptus or pineapple fibers.

Stahl is supporting these innovative material options by working with our customers and applying our newest coating systems. For example the use of leather in the car is being questioned these days. Tesla moved away from leather in the car interior and Land Rover is opting for other materials. The environment, animal welfare, and sustainability are important issues for the leather industry and there are a lot of initiatives to make the process more transparent. Stahl is also developing sustainable solutions for leather tanning and finishing. Leather is still an important material due to its natural qualities and durability, but there are a lot of misunderstandings about its origin.

Stahl has Centers of Excellence all over the world where we can develop, test and produce what our customer requires. And with our trend collections, we provide design inspiration and insights to help our customers stay ahead in a competitive market.


This article discusses taking the moving trends of our society both in technologies and aesthetics and applying them the interior of car design. It also goes over the important role of sustainability in car design, which I found to be very valuable considering the research we’ve done in the last couple years about this topic. Knowing that sustainability is a goal of many companies and their consumers, it has caused a rather interesting design issue. Because of this goal, many consumers want a natural look to show off the sustainable aspects, this becomes quite the challenge when at the same time consumers desire to show off the advanced technology features. The article discusses ways they are looking at achieving both these trends and for me I find this super important as I consider my own designs. Following trends, and predicting them, is important if you want a product to be successful on the market, and these days trends are changing at growing pace that’s hard for event he consumers to keep up with. Which is why I think personal customization of the vehicle through technology offers a solution to these issues.