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Highlights from the 2015 WardsAuto Interiors Conference

On May 13, 2015, WardsAuto held its annual Automotive Interiors Conference at Cobo Hall in Detroit. The conference provided a rare opportunity for information exchange and networking among some of the biggest names in the auto interior industry.

One of the most highly anticipated events surrounding the conference was the announcement of Ward’s 10 Best Interiors Awards, for which automakers were presented with trophies for their new and innovative auto interiors.

This year’s winners included:

  • 2014 BMW i3
  • 2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum
  • 2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch
  • 2015 GMC Canyon SLT
  • 2015 Honda Fit EX-L
  • 2015 Jeep Renegade Limited
  • 2015 Kia Sedona SXL
  • 2016 Mazda6 Grand Touring
  • 2015 Mercedes C400
  • 2015 Nissan Murano SL

The winners were chosen from a pool of 42 new-to-market interiors and were scored on a number of criteria, such as design aesthetics, materials, ergonomics, safety, comfort, value, fit-and-finish and driver information.

The Lear team is extraordinarily proud to have played a part in designing six out of the top 10 winning interiors.

“In this year’s competition, we saw a lot of evidence that automakers are thinking creatively about interiors and putting a lot of design horsepower into not just luxury vehicles, but pickups, minivans and family sedans. And they are investing more in high-quality trim materials, electronic features and other details that will surprise and delight shoppers,” said WardsAuto Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter.

Another highlight of the conference was the announcement of the winner of the sixth annual WardsAuto Student Design Competition, sponsored in part by Lear.

Students in the Transportation Design Department at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies were faced with the challenge of designing an interior for a 2030 compact CUV with self-driving capabilities. Fred Liu (pictured above) was presented with the Lear Innovation Award for his cutting-edge, forward-thinking design.

Congratulations to all of the vehicle and student winners! We look forward to next year’s conference!

Stay updated on company news and automotive industry trends by following Lear Corporation on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Operational Excellence by Lear: New Partnership with Xenith Brings Jobs to Detroit

On April 28, Lear Corporation announced its partnership with Xenith, a developer of innovative world-class football helmets and other sporting gear.

The company relocated helmet assembly operations from the east coast to Detroit to partner with Lear and several other Detroit-based companies. Major investors include Quicken Loans Chairman and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons.

The Xenith production facility in Detroit will employ approximately 60-70 full-time employees, with Lear workers comprising a majority of the assembly workforce.

Xenith is known for its high-tech helmets, featuring Xenith Adaptive Head Protection®. The innovative system is modeled after air-bag technology to minimize head movement during sudden impact and reduce the risk of concussion.

The partnership with Xenith further displays Lear’s reputation for superior quality, expertise in manufacturing and customer service.

“We currently supply performance textiles that are used in some of the biggest brand-name sports apparel in the business,” said Lear Vice President of Seating for the Americas Jeneanne Hanley. “This opportunity with Xenith will allow Lear to leverage our expertise in manufacturing and our culture of operational excellence to produce outstanding sporting equipment while bringing jobs to Detroit.”

On top of bringing new jobs to the area, Xenith is committed to sourcing as many of its materials as possible directly from Michigan. Detroit investors are thrilled to welcome Xenith to the local manufacturing landscape.

“From the earliest automobiles to today’s top-quality Shinola watches and bikes, Detroit’s reputation for manufacturing, assembly and design is unmatched,” said Dan Gilbert. “Xenith is honored to join the ranks of so many storied brands made in Detroit. We look forward to playing a key role in Detroit’s sports story, while growing a business and creating jobs alongside other quality manufacturers in our great city.”

Stay updated on company news and automotive industry trends by following Lear Corporation on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lear Southfield Helps Gleaners Stamp Out Hunger Through NALC’s 23rd Annual Food Drive

Lear wiring engineering and electrical sales team members in Southfield continued their ongoing support of Gleaners Community Food Bank by folding 4,000 food drive paper bags. Their work was in preparation for the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive, the largest one-day food drive in the country.

Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns collect non-perishable food from their postal customers. In the food drive’s 20+ year history, this campaign has delivered more than one billion pounds of food.

On May 9, Metro Detroit area residents will join with the local United States Postal Service to collect food for the drive. The USPS will then deliver the donations to Gleaners and other community organizations fighting hunger. Last year, Gleaners received more than a million pounds of food from the drive.

Earlier in January, Frank Orsini, SVP and President – Electrical, led the sales and program management volunteers in donating their time, extra food and funds at Gleaners’ headquarters in Detroit.

Additionally, the electrical sales team has planned an upcoming mid-summer day to put in some hard work in harvesting strawberries, weeding and related labor to help Gleaners prepare for another successful fall harvest.

“We love giving back to the community and supporting a great cause like Gleaners,” said Andrica Nuechterlein, VP – Sales, Electrical. “By partnering with other areas such as Program Management and Engineering we make an even bigger impact and it is also a great opportunity for team building.”

Gleaners’ Volunteer Coordinator Karen Rogensues expressed her appreciation for the Lear team, saying, “Thank you so much for organizing such a wonderful group of volunteers from Lear. We are so grateful for the hard work provided by groups like yours.”

With distribution centers in the four counties that make up the Metropolitan Detroit area, Gleaners distributes more than 45 million pounds of food annually to those in need in southeastern Michigan. About 40% of the recipients are children. Area Lear team members have long supported Gleaners, whose mission is to promote self-sufficiency through education and access as well as fighting hunger.

To learn more about the NALC Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, please visit

Stay updated on company news and automotive industry trends by following Lear Corporation on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

A Car Lover’s Guide to Visiting the Motor City

With an estimated 500 vehicles on display, the 27th annual NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) is expected to draw crowds of more than 800,000 over the next several days. In fact, Lear is proud to be represented in 34 new vehicle debuts at this year’s show!

Those who have come to town may be wondering if there’s anything else to do around here, outside of the main event. Despite the frigid winter weather, visitors will find that Detroit has lots to offer auto enthusiasts—this is the Motor City after all.

As car lovers ourselves, with corporate headquarters located in Southfield, Michigan (just outside of Detroit), the Lear team thought we’d share our recommendations for other must-see local auto-themed attractions. Enjoy your time in the D!

1. The Henry Ford and Ford Rouge Factory
Located in Dearborn, the Henry Ford holds one of the finest automotive history collections in the country, featuring almost 300 vehicles and an extensive collection of automotive product literature. The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, located within the museum, offers a five-part experience that includes watching the assembly of the Ford F-150 truck from an elevated walkway.

Learn more at

2. Automotive Hall of Fame
Next door to the Henry Ford is the Automotive Hall of Fame, honoring the men and women whose automotive innovations changed the world and revolutionized our way of life. Features include a 65-foot-long mural celebrating the impact of the motor vehicle on the world’s culture and a full-size replica of the world’s first gasoline-powered automobile.

Learn more at

3. GM Renaissance Center and Showroom Tour
Visitors will be guided through Detroit’s landmark GM Renaissance Center on a tour outlining the rich history that General Motors shares with the city of Detroit. The popular GM Showroom is a 40,000 square-foot display space offering an exciting, interactive look at GM’s Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC brands.

Learn more at

4. Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
The recently restored Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit’s mid-town area was built in 1904 and is the first manufacturing facility owned by Ford Motor Company. Visitors will enjoy touring this birthplace of the historic Model T and the manufacturing site for earlier Ford “Alphabet cars.”

Learn more at

5. Detroit Historical Museum
The Detroit Historical Museum’s signature exhibition “America’s Motor City” tells the fascinating stories of how cars built metro Detroit and how metro Detroit built cars, as well as why Detroit became the Motor City. This new exhibit incorporates the popular “Automotive Showplace,” featuring cars from the museum’s collection.

Learn more at

6. “Detroit Industry” at the Detroit Institute of Arts
The famed “Detroit Industry” fresco cycle is located inside the Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The twenty-seven panel work depicting an automobile assembly line was conceived by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera as a tribute to the city’s manufacturing base and labor force of the 1930s. It is considered the finest example of Mexican mural art in the United States, and the artist thought it the best work of his career.

Learn more at

7. Vinsetta Garage
All of this sightseeing will probably work up your appetite. In that case, visit the popular Vinsetta Garage, located on historic Woodward Avenue in the city of Berkley, just outside of Detroit. The restaurant is a local favorite housed inside of a converted garage, said to be the oldest service station east of the Mississippi. Be sure to try one of their mouth-watering burgers, the famous mac & cheese or a coal-fired pizza.

Learn more at

What did we miss? Share your favorite Detroit auto attractions with us @LearCorporation on Twitter!

Stay in the Know: Twitter Profiles to Follow at Detroit’s Auto Show

As the 27th annual NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) gets underway in Detroit, auto enthusiasts are scrambling to keep up with all of the exciting daily news and chatter surrounding this highly-anticipated event.

The Lear team will be sharing our own breaking news and behind-the-scenes updates throughout the show (follow us @LearCorporation on Twitter!), but car lovers may also enjoy following these insightful industry profiles.

  1. The North American International Auto Show -
    Why You Should Follow: As the official profile of the NAIAS, it all starts here.
  2. Cobo Center -
    WYSF: The official location of the show offers a peek into the interesting, non-automotive aspects of the Auto Show—yes, these do exist!
  3. Zlati Meyer -
    WYSF: The Detroit Free Press (“Freep”) staffer mixes photography captioned with witty comments.
  4. Mark Phelan -
    WYSF: This Freep auto critic offers a friendly view into the technical side of the new vehicles rolling out during NAIAS.
  5. Tanya Moutzalias -
    WYSF: The MLive photojournalist does a great job connecting followers with the visual side of the show.
  6. Jaclyn Trop -
    WYSF: This Automotive News LA bureau reporter offers detailed coverage, from the front lines.
  7. Davy Muller -
    WYSF: This auto writer posts timely and behind-the-scenes updates live from the show.
  8. Jill Ciminillo -
    WYSF: The auto editor’s live tweeting is so immersive, it makes you feel like you’re there.
  9. Dustin Block -
    WYSF: As the MLive expansion market editor, Block’s coverage includes everyday quirks that make Detroit such a great city.
  10. Autoline -
    WYSF: To round out your experience, this industry outlet is posting exclusive video clips straight from the show.

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