Upgrade Your Used Car's Value with Leather

Katzkin Offers Product that Improves Your Car's Cloth Seats

A Katzkin employee adds leather to a vehicle seat. (c) Katzkin

You do it with your home all the time. You make it more luxurious by doing renovations. Yet, few of us would think about renovating our used cars, trucks or crossovers. Instead, we usually buy a new (or new used car) instead of renovating what we have.

Custom automotive leather leader Katzkin has come out with what it calls an “affordable luxury solution” with leather packages that can be customized and installed within a 24-48 hour window from time of customer configuration.

According to Tim Clyde, CEO of Katzkin, leather is the one item that can immediately enhance a luxurious feel within the interior of any car or truck.  “We’ve been transforming automotive interiors for 30 years,” said Clyde.  “We began by simply enriching mainstream vehicles that had cloth interiors and have increased our capabilities to more than 3,000 pattern designs – including performance vehicles such as Roush and Shelby -- but it’s our full range of truck interiors that complete a broader range of luxury opportunities for enthusiasts.”

According to Clyde, a Katzkin interior transformation is a value proposition saving the consumer $4,000-$6,000 on average by not moving into the next level package on a new vehicle.  In addition, Katzkin’s significant library of patterns allows for updates at an affordable price structure to feel “new” again.  Recent partnerships for Katzkin include renowned designer Chip Foose.

We reached out to Clyde to do a Q&A with him via e-mail to find out more about the operation and how it could enhance your used car. After all, if you have invested heavily in making the exterior look great and it runs well mechanically, why not take the next step and upgrade the interior with leather?

Q. How long does it take to convert a car or truck to leather upholstery?

A. The actual installation only takes about 4 hours for a two-row vehicle. Factoring in scheduling, the typical turnaround time for a consumer is 1-2 days (the consumer would drop off a vehicle and it would be ready the following afternoon).

Q. How far back can you go? What’s the oldest vehicle you are offering?

A. Katzkin has over 3,000 patterns covering virtually all non-luxury makes and models going back to the 1990s. Our oldest pattern is for a 1986 Honda Accord.

Q. Any idea of how much value it adds to a vehicle when you add leather?

A. Difficult to know precisely. However, Katzkin’s MSRP is $1,995, while the extra cost to buy a new leather equipped vehicle vs. the same vehicle with cloth is typically $4,000 - $5,000. I think these numbers represent the range of value added by leather.

[Editor's note: To see what value leather seats might add to your used car, read our article on how to value a used car to see how you can find out the information.]

Q. What’s the actual process? Is the leather laid over the existing fabric or is it removed and the leather put in its place?

A. The cloth is completely removed and replaced with the leather.

Our leather has a foam backing to it, which further enhances the comfort of the seat.

[Editor’s note: In effect it’s almost like you’re getting new seats with additional foam backing adding more comfort.]

Q. What impact, if any, does the addition of heated and/or cooled seats have on the car’s battery and electrical system? Does it require a change in battery?

A. No impact whatsoever. The battery does not need to change.

Q. Car manufacturers will talk about leather seating surfaces, as in the entire seat may not be done in leather. Or a faux leather will be used. Are your seats entirely done in leather? Are there other types of materials used or available for better durability or to save money?

A. Virtually all leather interiors in the automotive industry utilize vinyl in addition to leather. Officially, they are called “leather-trimmed interiors.” The vinyl is typically found on the back of the seats/headrests, portions of the rear seats and on the sides of the front seats.

As a point of reference, Katzkin matches and/or exceeds the actual leather content of OEM leather-trimmed interiors.

An emerging trend in the industry has been the use of vinyl interiors that look and feel very similar to leather. These faux leathers are often marketed using names that cause confusion such as “leatherette.” All such products are made of plastic or vinyl and as such, they are lower priced versus leather-trimmed interiors.

Compared to faux leather, leather is softer, more pliant and will typically last longer. In addition, faux leather gets colder during cold weather and hotter during warm weather vs. real leather.

Are you ready for a leather interior? It might be a great way to increase the value of your used car without spending a lot of money.

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Griffin, Keith. "Upgrade Your Used Car's Value with Leather." ThoughtCo, Aug. 23, 2016, thoughtco.com/upgrade-your-used-cars-value-with-leather-3308348. Griffin, Keith. (2016, August 23). Upgrade Your Used Car's Value with Leather. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/upgrade-your-used-cars-value-with-leather-3308348 Griffin, Keith. "Upgrade Your Used Car's Value with Leather." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/upgrade-your-used-cars-value-with-leather-3308348 (accessed November 23, 2017).