Comfort and convenience features used to be found almost exclusively in expensive luxury vehicles, but not anymore. Like most new technologies, automotive trends tend to become standard in more affordable vehicles as their popularity grows.

While vehicle styling is still important, consumers are increasingly attracted to vehicles that offer innovative options and features that make their driving experience more enjoyable.

"Responsive automakers understand that the same vehicle may be used for commuting, shuttling the kids and taking the family on a vacation," says Douglas DelGrosso, president and chief operating officer of Lear Corp. (Southfield, MI). "Manufacturers can set themselves apart from their competitors by providing consumers with a variety of ergonomic design elements that keep up with their fast-paced lifestyles and address their need for comfort and convenience."

For instance, DelGrosso points out that low back pain is second only to the common cold when it comes to reasons people consult a physician. In fact, annual costs for low back pain in the United States exceed $50 billion.

Lear engineers recently addressed this issue when they developed the Quadriflex thin profile bolster seat. It's a folding rear seat that provides excellent back and cushion support, and is easily operated with one hand. "The seat provides maximum storage space when folded flat, and looks as stylish and well-crafted as the driver's seat," claims DelGrosso.

The Quadriflex is available in manual and power versions, and it can be applied to any passenger seat positions. "We want our customers to trust that we understand consumer preferences and can provide best-in-class interior products and services," explains DelGrosso.