Mini to replace leather with recycled materials in cabin of future cars
British luxury car brand Mini has said it is about to replace leather upholstery from the interior of its future cars with recycled products. The automaker’s design head Oliver Heilmer has said that the company will use more modern and high-value products that are more sustainable than leather.
With this, Mini would be able to save 12 billion euros by the end of 2022. In 2020, around 54% of Mini models sold in the UK featured genuine leather. However, the scarcity in the availability of leather is becoming another key concern for the brand that led it to take this decision.
The material used in the production seats is currently 100% recycled, while the lining underneath is 70% recycled. With this, Mini is aiming to create a timeless design for the future Mini models. “The fabric in the production seats is now 100% recycled. The lining underneath is 70% recycled. We are looking to create a timeless design. A one-season design, like fashion, isn’t our aim with the design of future Minis," Heilmer told a publication.
He also indicates that besides being recyclable, the new material is luxurious as well. Also, this aesthetic angle of the future Mini cars' cabin will come from a home perspective, rather than an automotive one.
Clearly, the automaker is on the verge of a drastic change in terms of design and technology in the new decade. However, despite the plan of using new design, technology, and sustainable recyclable materials will be in relation to its heritage, claimed Heilmer. He pointed that the future Mini models will carry the brand's signature styling despite making the necessary changes. “We ask questions like 'is there still a toggle switch in the future?' because you love to use it. We need to do the basics right but then add the magical Mini touch over that," added Heilmer.
Interestingly, Mini is not the first carmaker in the world that vowed to use recyclable materials. Previously, several other car brands, including the luxury OEMs such as BMW (Mini’s parent brand) and Jaguar Land Rover too displayed similar ambition.