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Roller Shades – Explosion into the Mid-Size, Luxury and Premium Markets

Panoramic roofs with roller shades are trending and becoming a “must have” as part of the automotive interior design. Is your next car design ready to incorporate them?

Half-panel and manual slidable sunroofs used to be one of the high-end features that consumers sought out in luxury vehicles, however, now they are available in mid-size and economy-size models.  With that, what is the new sunroof draw for affluent new car buyers? Cars with full- or multi-panel panoramic sunroofs (or moonroofs) and roller shades.

As an evolution of the manual sunroof, a panoramic sunroof, with a roller shade, features a mechanical, retractable fabric or screen, that shields passengers from the sun’s glare, heat, and harmful UV rays, while maintaining an exact look to the headliner and visor components.

Full-panel panoramic sunroofs with a roller shade appeal to buyers of all ages for many reasons. They offer a light-filled-cabin experience with the protection of a roof structure and enables passengers the ability to enjoy open air at the simple touch of a button.

For car designers looking for innovative options that will help sell future upscale models, panoramic sunroofs with roller shades will be on the list. Their luxury appeal, combined with their future market growth, make it an intelligent choice for future car designs.

Many different styles of roller shade fabric will be developed in the coming years as automotive interior designers endeavor to differentiate their interior experience from competitive models.  For an airier and light-filled interior, a light dappling or diffusing screen may be specified to slide below the glass. At the other end of the spectrum, designers may want to offer the occupants a roller shade panel that achieves 100% light block and has a surface fabric that perfectly matches the headliner material for a cohesive look.

The five-year market outlook

The roller shade’s arrival in 2014-2015 makes it one of the newest components in a vehicle, but analysts predict it to have an explosion of popularity in the coming years. The growth globally will be in the double-digits across every major market. And just as half-panel and manual slidable sunroofs are now mainstream, it is expected that many consumers will ultimately want panoramic sunroofs, which will require roller shades as an essential function, not just in luxury and high-end designs.

Unique material requirements  

Automotive designers and material engineers have new fabric requirements to address the unique needs of roller shades. These unique needs require advanced material solutions that:

  • Can offer 100% light block
  • Can stand up to heat and electric current
  • Will not cause static elongation
  • Can roll up quickly by the push of a button and/or voice command
  • Will not develop creases or bowing

A future-proof advanced materials partner

Roller shades may be new to luxury designs, but they are here to stay. Market disruptors like Tesla have brought them to the forefront, but it is clear that consumers will expect them in mid-size, full-size and luxury vehicles in the future.

Car designers and interior manufacturers will want to work with a versatile advanced materials manufacturer that is experienced with fabrics/materials that can resist heat, block UV rays and light, stand up to an electrified current, and roll up easily without wrinkling for years in use. It will take a finessed approach, with experienced roller shade textile experts, utilizing advanced technology, and state of the art testing, but panoramic roofs and roller shades will be sure to entice consumers in the coming model years.