For surfaces of vehicle interiors which are often touched, soft touch coatings applied to these areas provide a desired leather like feel. These coatings are often two component in chemistry thereby also offering superior scratch / mar and chemical resistance (to things such as sunscreen and insect repellent) when compared with traditional one component systems.
These coatings are also available in various gloss levels ranging from extremely flat to high. Examples of where soft touch systems are typically used include air bag covers, consoles, and armrests.
Newer styling trends include the use of exterior colors being used on the inside. This may include the actual exterior color with either a high or low gloss finish and recent examples on this concept include the VW Beetle or DaimlerChrysler’s PT Cruiser.
Recent extensions of technology include the use of soft touch clearcoats to provide even more styling options. What this means to OEM designers is that the interior soft touch areas are no longer limited to traditional solid grays, black, tans or blues but can now include metallic and mica containing finishes.