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The facility in Yoshimi will develop interiors for today's and tomorrow's cars.

Stephen Moore

March 28, 2024

3 Min Read
Interior Innovation Center meeting room
Image courtesy of Marelli

At a Glance

  • The center’s key role is design-led innovation at speed for the creation of new vehicle interior solutions
  • The center created the Digital Detox cockpit concept, which hides displays when they are not required
  • Open innovation across borders and industries is fostered

Italian Tier I Marelli has unveiled its new Interior Innovation Center (IIC) in Yoshimi, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, picking up on experiences garnered from its previous location in Miyahara. The new integrated facility will be strategic in fostering design-led innovation at speed for the creation of new vehicle interior solutions aimed at present and next-generation vehicles. Marelli established its foothold in Japan by absorbing the operations of Calsonic Kansei in 2019.

“The establishment of the new innovation center for interior experience is an important step for our team,” said Tsukasa Fujii, president of Marelli’s Interior Experience division. “This advanced facility will be key in further enabling innovative value creation with our customers and partners, with a sense of speed.”

Innovation for a new era

Engineers and designers at the center are implementing three key initiatives inspired by the theme, “What’s next? Innovation for the new era.”

  • The Interior Innovation Center has established a hybrid team structure, integrating interior, electrical, and material engineering, and interior design. Experts from the different fields will collaborate and inspire each other to generate new ideas and solutions.

  • The center is an environment focusing specifically on innovation: It is independent from the development and production units, while cooperating effectively with them to enhance creativity. 

  • Manufacturing is applied according to the “Three Reals Theory,” a principle that determines everything based on three realities of place, product, and situation. Equipped with clay modeling facilities, prototype workspaces, and virtual reality systems, the Interior Innovation Center creates realistic innovation, taking into account the concept's realization on the actual production line.

Digital Detox cockpit concept

The new center has already led to the creation of the Digital Detox cockpit concept, which was exhibited at CES 2024. Following this concept, the cabin offers a comfortable “living room” environment, with high-quality, sustainable materials. To ensure a relaxing personalized space, digital screens and buttons, when switched off, become invisible, concealed under stylish panels or stored under the console. Necessary information is displayed when needed, ensuring a functional and enjoyable experience.

Marelli_Interior-Innovation-Center-dashboard-design.jpg

The aim of the Interior Innovation Center is to create next-generation cockpit solutions through the combination of innovative ideas and technologies. To realize this vision, it promotes a series of strategic initiatives:

  • First, it deepens collaboration with innovation teams in the Americas, Europe, China, and other Marelli locations by conducting workshops and facilitating knowledge exchange across borders, bringing together diverse perspectives and technologies. 

  • In addition, open innovation is encouraged, as active collaboration is pursued with OEMs and other industries, aiming to create new value through the fusion of inter-industry technologies and ideas. The latest electronic technologies are integrated with sustainable material engineering to promote eco-friendly innovation. 

  • Finally, the Interior Innovation Center fosters a culture that encourages creative thinking and experimental challenges, providing an environment where members can freely propose ideas and fearlessly explore new solutions.

Through the fusion of technology and design, global collaboration, open innovation, and a focus on sustainability, Marelli’s Interior Experience team aims to push the boundaries of interior design and technology, creating the next generation of personalized interior experiences.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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