Leather is still the choice for top quality cars

14 February 2005

When it comes to top of the range luxury cars, consumers want leather upholstery. Despite pressure from animal rights to provide an alternative, the customer still prefers leather. Recently, Mercedes bowed to pressure and decided make its full line of vehicles available with synthetic interiors if a customer requests it. Until now, their most expensive models have been offered with leather as standard. However, other automotive manufacturers are not planning to follow suit. 'Overwhelmingly, people want leather seats', Toyota spokesman Mike Michels is reported as saying. 'Customer demand drives everything we do.' Mercedes C- and E-class sedans and M-class sport-utility vehicles have always been offered with a non-leather option, says Mercedes spokeswoman Donna Boland. But consumers only wanted leather on the highest-end models, such as the S-class sedans, SL roadster and CL coupe, she says. Although leather will remain standard on those models, if customers want a non-leather alternative, the company will make it available. 'All leather used in Mercedes cars is a byproduct of beef production', Boland says. As for the other luxury car makers, Jaguar offer standard leather seats on all their cars and hasn't been approached to make a change. This may well be about to change. Infiniti's range comes as standard with leather and there is no alternative available. The only exception is the FX35 crossover vehicle, which comes with a standard cloth interior. No change is being contemplated. Cadillac offer a leather look synthetic on their CTS, but leather seats are standard on the rest of the line. 'People want leather', spokeswoman Nekeidra Shegog says. Lexus have leather as standard in all their cars except the RX 330 SUV and the IS 300 sports sedan. The Toyota Land Cruiser also comes with a leather interior. Toyota were recently offered an award for not including leather seats as an option in their Prius hybrid. But the carmaker 'respectfully declined.' The company leaves open the possibility of offering the car with leather seats. However, Michels adds: 'We respect people's conviction on this issue.' Source: USA Today

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