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Old 2nd April 2009, 20:15   #1
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Default Automotive Grade Leather

Many of us may not be aware that automotive upholstery leather must meet certain minimum technical specifications as per international standards organization (ISO). Automotive leather is processed differently from regular furniture leather.

The majority of after market upholstery leathers used in India are at the most, furniture grade and do not meet international automotive standards. why? Because price is the issue and furniture leather costs less than automotive grade leather.

So when you are getting your car interiors done, you might want to ask the supplier if his genuine leathers ( or artificial leather like PVC/PU) meet the international automotive upholstery standards and if they have test certificates for the same. You have a right to know what you are getting.

An ISO 9001:2000 certificate issued to the manufacturer of seat covers does not mean that the leather used is certified as automotive grade. Because the ISO 9001:2001 is a quality management system for the process of making the seat covers, and does not certify the quality of leather itself. It is not a product certification.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 11:01   #2
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Thanks for sharing this information, Karlsson. To most of us (moi included) leather is just leather and we don't bother with asking the right questions. It would be great if you could address the following questions:

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Originally Posted by Kärlsson View Post
Automotive leather is processed differently from regular furniture leather.
Now that you mention it, does seem logical. After all, the usage pattern is so different (exposure to sunlight, extreme heat etc.). What are the broad differences in processing operations?

Quote:
The majority of after market upholstery leathers used in India are at the most, furniture grade and do not meet international automotive standards.
Would you have the complete list of brands that meet / do not meet these international standards? Is there an industry-wide website for internationally acceptable standards (say like EPA is for miles per gallon)

Quote:
So when you are getting your car interiors done, you might want to ask the supplier if his genuine leathers ( or artificial leather like PVC/PU) meet the international automotive upholstery standards and if they have test certificates for the same.
Who are the most widely accepted certifying authorities?
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Old 3rd April 2009, 17:07   #3
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Hi GTO

The truth is all leather is not made the same and most of the leather that is used for auto upholstery in India would not even meet the ISO furniture upholstery standards as they do in Europe. Because the criterion for most of the leather imported or produced in India for the domestic upholstery market is low price.

You are right, automotive upholstery leather must meet higher abrasion, higher resistance to UV, wet rubbing & sweat rubbing standards than furniture grade.

This is a link to the ISO website

ISO - ISO Standards - IULTCS - International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies

There are fogging test standards for leather and also flame resistance tests ( FAR cert. for aircraft upholstery) like the ISO /DIS 6452 and the ISO 3795 for automobiles.

An accredited testing lab like SATRA in the UK and some others in Europe would be the independent testing authorities for issuing a certification.

The quality and safety standards in cars are compromised when we use leather or synthetic materials that do not meet the minimum automotive standards.

Buyers should begin asking these questions on standards while making a purchase. As far as I know none of the leathers offered especially in the after market in India meet international automotive standards.

And as they say 'Caveat Emptor'.
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