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Montebello company upgrades car's interior

January 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Many people wish they could just buy a car with leather and not have to get all those extras they don't want in the sale. Well, a Montebello-based company is making the lives of car buyers easier- for a price.

A leather car interior says "luxury." But what if your car, or one you're looking at, doesn't have it? It's actually easy to upgrade.

"Not only can they get leather, but they can get something that really allows them to self-express," said David Giddings from Katzkin Leather.

Katzkin is in the seat makeover business. They've been doing leather upgrades through dealers since the 1980s as kind of an industry secret.

"We don't want to be a secret anymore," said Giddings. "We want to let consumers know that there's an option for them, that they can get leather in any vehicle they buy."

They start with a design to make the seats look right. That job goes to a veteran designer from the auto industry.

"When we create an interior and we put it in your car, as a consumer it goes beyond maybe what the OEM was able to do or capable of doing from a creative point of view or from a materials point of view," said chief designer Dave O'Connell.

Using a combination of high-tech machines and hand crafting, new seat covers are made to order and sent to installers. Suggested price starts at about $2,000, but that can be a bargain compared to what a car company might charge.

"What they do is they package their leather with a bunch of other goodies like DVDs and other stuff, and they make that their 'high trim,'" said Giddings.

Getting leather seats from here is essentially getting them a la carte. After you decide what you want your seats to look like and the order is placed, they're not made in some foreign country, but in Montebello at the Katzkin factory.

The basic design mimics factory leather, but then you can get creative if you want to spend more. And orders can be turned around within a day.

For example, a 2012 Camry started out with a rental-car-like cloth interior, and it got a two-tone treatment which brought the look up several notches.

And if you have an older car, this upgrade is like buying part of the new car experience.

"And if you think about it you walk up to the car, you're very excited about it, and you open up the door. What's the first think you see? It's the seat," said O'Connell.

And it's a seat that you probably spend a heck of a lot of time in.


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