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The Secrets Behind Chevrolet’s Comfortable Seats

BANGKOK, THAILAND – Bangkok commuters are known to endure long daily drives, spending an average 64 hours per year in rush-hour traffic, according to the 2017 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, which also ranked Thailand No. 1 globally in peak hours spent in congestion.

Health experts say that sitting too long can contribute to a number of health problems, including back pain, in part because sitting puts 40 percent more pressure on the spine than standing.

“We sit more and more these days due to desk jobs and driving in traffic jams. That is bad news for your back. So, when you travel by car you should choose a vehicle with firm, well-contoured seats that provide good lumbar support for the low back and good side bolsters for added support and comfort,” said Dr. Chase Schneier, a Bangkok-based American chiropractor with over 20 years professional experience.

Not surprisingly, many car buyers say interior comfort is a “top 10” purchase consideration, including Chevrolet customers in Thailand. According to Chevrolet customer research, about 95 percent of customers consider ample legroom and comfortable seats to be essential attributes.

“Seat comfort was part of my purchase decision, because I drive about two hours each day. It is important, because when you drive long distances it can cause fatigue,” said Mr. Tatthep Sornsil, who has driven Chevrolet vehicles since 2003, including Trailblazer and Captiva. He frequently drives in Bangkok, Chonburi, Kamphaeng Saen, Sriracha, Ayutthaya, and Singburi.

“When you’re driving in rush hour traffic, few things are more important than a comfortable seat – this is what our customers have told us. We have listened to them and responded by providing seats that are not only comfortable, but durable as well,” said Mr. Chatchawan Chantaket, General Director of Product Engineering, GM Southeast Asia.

Trailblazer’s six-way electronically adjustable driver seat provides personalized comfort. The full seven-seater SUV features ‘theatre-style seating’, allowing second- and third-row occupants a better all-round view. Individually-controlled air-conditioning vents are available even for third-row occupants.

Further enhancing occupant comfort is Trailblazer’s refined suspension that is tuned with digressive shocks that give the SUV superior ride comfort and stability.

When it comes to keeping customers’ backsides comfortable, seat engineers at GM use a variety of scientific tests to ensure its car seats provide optimal comfort.

Depending on the vehicle program, GM seat engineers from around the world may work together using high-tech tools, real-world ride evaluations and customer feedback to fine-tune cushion contours and seat structures.

Early in a seat’s development, engineers may use “Oscar,” a three-dimensional, mannequin-like simulation tool for determining the overall dimensional layout of a car’s interior to ensure optimal space and comfort for occupants.

GM seat engineers may also use digital pressure-mapping technology that measures a person’s back-side pressure distribution over the seat surface, creating a map with more than 4,600 data points. The information is transferred to a computer that generates graphics illustrating how occupants sit in the seat statically or while driving.

To complement seat-pressure mapping, engineers may also use a rear-end test robot that simulates the effects of seat force and deflection, and helps determine if a seat is too firm or too soft.

But GM seat engineers don’t rely exclusively on machines – they also conduct seat ride evaluations with volunteers, spending hundreds of hours logging thousands of kilometers to ensure they get sufficient feedback on seat prototypes.

“I once sat in a friend’s car by another brand for a trip and got back pain. A car seat must be comfortable enough, so that it won’t cause fatigue. So, when I needed a new vehicle I bought Trailblazer again because the performance is superior to other cars that I have used,” said Trailblazer owner Mr. Surin Prukpakul.

“Providing Chevrolet customers with the most-comfortable seat possible is something we take very seriously because comfort is so important to the overall driving experience and customer satisfaction is one of our highest priorities,” said Mr. Chatchawan.