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New car seat cushions and back supports boost user comfort, health

Adoption of natural materials is growing. Electric functions are also on the rise.

China’s selection of car seat cushions and back supports in coming months will include a greater number of upscale designs. To maintain profitability, companies are shifting their sales mix toward high-end models, which are less affected by fluctuation in raw material costs.


Heated massaging car seat cushion
Autoline’s CU021018 model is a heated massaging car seat cushion.

China’s selection of car seat cushions and back supports in coming months will include a greater number of upscale designs. To maintain profitability, companies are shifting their sales mix toward high-end models, which are less affected by fluctuation in raw material costs.

Suppliers believe the time is right for this strategy, as vehicle consumption is increasing at home and overseas. Declining margins are also facilitating efforts, with rates for key materials having risen at double-digit levels in the past 12 months. Sheepskin, for example, became 20 percent more expensive YoY in the last two months of 2010.

Under efforts of boosting product value, many cushion makers are adopting flax fabrics as covers. At present, 20 percent of products employ the material, with content ranging from 30 to 100 percent.

Flax, although one of the more expensive fibers, is also among the strongest and most comfortable. Some are differentiating designs further by adopting yarns with a size of 24 instead of the conventional 15.

A few makers are using covers made of seaweed or a blend with flax or viscose. Such exteriors are biodegradable and have anti-bacterial properties.

Besides adopting comfortable fabrics in natural fiber, several makers are increasing the health benefits of car cushions by filling these with medicinal herbs. Options in this category include designs with hawthorn and cassia seeds. The former promotes blood circulation and metabolism, while cassia seed is said to sharpen vision.

A number of enterprises are going the electric route to boost the well-being of users. Running on batteries or power from the car cigarette lighter socket, these units are capable of massaging, heating or both.

The latest releases have multiple massage and temperature settings. Their controllers are fitted with LED or LCD screens.

In addition, among heated units, copper wires are being replaced by carbon fiber types. This increases price by $2 to $5 but results in greater heating uniformity and energy savings.


Products & prices
Product gallery
Products & prices

The selection comprises models in a range of natural and synthetic covers. Leather, cotton, sheepskin, flax and polyester are among the popular options.

Seventy percent of output consists of basic cushions marketed in sets of five. Two pieces are for the front, while three are for the rear seat and back.

The rest of the cushions are individually sold. Such products are typically contoured to fit the curve of the back and feature additional functions.

The line can be divided further into electric and nonelectric types. Accounting for at least 5 percent of output, most designs of the first variety are fitted with a car cigarette lighter plug. A controller for the heating, cooling or massage function is also provided.

Prices for a basic five-piece set covered in a blend of flax and cotton start below $15. Quotes can reach $60 for models employing knitted fabric made of 100 percent flax.

Sheepskin variants suitable for autumn and winter use are between $200 and $400 per kit. Fabrics for these are domestically sourced or imported from Australia.

For models employing cotton and polyester covers, prices for five-piece sets start at $6.

In the electric line, PU and polyester are the main choices for the cover. Units have a rated power of 5 to 40W, while voltage is at 12V. The noise level for motorized massaging cushions is about 50dB.

Export-bound models comply with international standards. CE, RoHS, UL, TÜV and GS are among those followed.

Entry-level designs are heated types. Priced between $2 and $15 each, these are typically fitted with a copper or carbon fiber heating wire. Most offer two or three temperature settings.

Some models have a cooling function, which is achieved via built-in miniature fans that take in air and circulate it throughout the cushion.

Upward to $30 are massaging units with three to five motors scattered at the neck, shoulder, back, waist and thigh areas. Designs offer several massage modes, with shiatsu, vibration and tapping among the most popular.

More expensive versions combine heating and massage functions. These use six to 10 motors, and some have magnetic stones and jade for additional health benefits.

Back supports made of nylon mesh or sponge are priced at least $1. Versions with massage functions can be procured for an additional $0.60 to $1.

Car seat cushions and back supports can be sourced from about 1,000 companies in China.


Heated car seat cushion
Product gallery

Autoline International Trading Co. Ltd

Model: CU021018
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Heated car seat cushion; 12/24V; massage function; 110x50cm


Car seat cushion


Fenghua Daqiao Lianxing Silk Screen Printing Fty

Model: LX-0030
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 20 days
Description: Car seat cushion; terylene; blue, black or gray


Car seat back support


Shoppy Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd

Model: JWC-003
MOQ: 250 units
Delivery: 7 days
Description: Car seat back support; nylon mesh; black, gray or beige; massage function; 40x37cm


Car seat back support


Shoppy Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd

Model: JWC-004
MOQ: 250 pieces
Delivery: 7 days
Description: Car seat back support; nylon mesh; black, gray or beige; massage function; 40x37cm


Car seat back support


Wenzhou Success Group Co. Ltd

Model: SU-WS-001
MOQ: 4,000 pieces
Delivery: 25 days
Description: Car seat back support; nylon mesh; 43x32cm; OPP bag packaging


Sponge


Wenzhou Success Group Co. Ltd

Model: SU-WS-003
MOQ: 4,000 pieces
Delivery: 25 days
Description: Sponge; 43x32cm; OPP bag packaging




Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.



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