Dow Introduces Cruelty-Free Leather for Automotive Seats a Stylish Guilty-Free Choice

Vinodhini Harish

10 Apr 2024

The daily commute has been transformed into a stress-free, productive and even enjoyable experience with autonomous cars, which was only a dream decades ago. When was the last time you read about autonomous cars or seen it yourself? The sophisticated look, comfort and functionality have made autonomous cars a hot topic for a while now. But it takes premium quality seating materials to get that desired comfort and look. In this article, we have discussed automotive seating material, but we have primarily talked about the innovations made by DOW chemical companies in this regard. If you are interested in knowing how the changing attitude of consumers towards sustainability and environmentally conscious people are driving the growth of the automotive seating material market, you would love this article. Let’s begin.

A place for artificial leathers in the automotive industry:

Manufacturers are introducing varied materials to be used in the place of leather for automotive seatings. They have managed to manufacture leather-like materials from raw materials like Polyvinyl chloride (PVD), Polyurethane (PU), microfiber, ocean plastic, lorica, vegetan cork, recycled rubber, ligne, tree bark, coconuts, cactus, kombucha, corn, apples, paper, mushrooms (Muskin), flexible and slate stone, oranges, bananas, and much more. Quite impressive, isn’t it? But there is a bigger picture, why do automakers thrive to bring in artificial leather?

Why do automakers move from leather to synthetic leather?

Consumer preferences in automotive seatings are growing towards developing seats with better ergonomics, adjustable lumbar support, massage functions, memory settings and integration of advanced materials like lightweight composites which help in reducing the overall weight of the interiors.

The smart seats are also gaining momentum which are equipped with sensors that monitor the health parameters of the occupants, and other related advancements across multiple configurations.

It reduces weight:

EV makers are looking for environmentally friendly and efficient materials that add value to the vehicle in every way. Synthetic leather which is also called Faux leather reduces weight when compared to real leather, which reduces the overall weight of the automotive interiors. This has impacted the fuel efficiency and performance of the vehicle.

Studies have shown that 10% of weight reduction in these vehicles has brought in fuel efficiency improvements by 6-8%. Also, the impact of weight reduction has a more nuanced impact on the performance of the vehicle. It helps in better acceleration, braking, and other characteristics.

This factor of weight reduction has become the primary goal when bringing in advancement in seating solutions. In line with this goal, several companies are working towards achieving it. Let’s have a look at how Dow Company achieves it.

Dow company introduces more sustainable leather-like material for automotive seating:

The company appreciates the idea of bringing in sustainable seating solutions, thus it joined with HIUV Materials Technology to bring in the breakthrough leather substitute. This POE artificial leather offers a soft texture, enhanced colour stability, and superior resistance to aging or extremely low temperatures. Since the material meets stringent automotive standards, concerning eliminating the usage of hazardous chemicals and heavy metals in the production of the materials, the material has gained great momentum in the automotive sector. In addition to these advantages, DOW company’s POE leather boasts low VOC emissions and achieved substantial difference in weight reduction which makes it about 40% lighter than other PVC leathers.

Some amazing benefits of DOW’s POE leather:
  • Low volatile organic compounds (VOC) and low in odour.
  • Exhibits about 25% - 40% lighter in weight when compared to other PVC leather in the market
  • No hazardous chemicals, plasticizers, or heavy-metals materials are used in the manufacturing process
  • Exhibits good resistance to aging, and low temperature and meets stringent automotive regulations imposed in the automotive industry
  • Exhibits better colour stability, ultra-soft tactility, and flexibility that empowers designers to cater to ergonomic and comfort factors of seating requirements.
  • Comes in multiple colours, different choices of colours

Dow has extensive expertise in materials science, which they have leveraged to introduce this high-performance and animal-free leather alternative to real leathers. After intensive research into the materials, they have come up with polyolefin Elastomers which is a new class of polymers.

Polyolefin Elastomers exhibit excellent properties that include:
  • Low to very high molecular weight
  • Superior elasticity to empower designers to exhibit their designing skills,
  • Excellent thermal stability
  • UV resistance
  • Toughness
  • Low-temperature ductility

Other than automotive seating applications, the material is exhibiting growing applications such as adhesives, footwear foams, moulded rubber goods, pipes and packaging. Therefore the polyolefin elastomers are expected to have significant growth in multiple sectors.


Leather has been the only choice for car seating for a long period, but as the internal combustion engine is finally giving way to electrification, we are experiencing a revolution in upholstery materials. Technology makes artificial leather look like leather and especially after experiencing the goodness of eco-friendly EVs, automakers are replacing real leather with “the look of leather”, which is great news. With these amazing innovations in the automotive seating material market, we can expect a great surge in adopting sustainable materials in every sector in the future.


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