For quite a long time, leather has been viewed as the ideal interior choice in the automobile industry. In addition to being durable, leather has also been a symbol of luxury, further increasing the production of leather seating and interior wraps for vehicles. In recent years, however, big names in the automobile industry have been responding to their customers’ requests for sustainable and cruelty-free alternatives to leather. In fact, some companies are discontinuing animal-leather use altogether. What’s more, some companies are even implementing a hefty upcharge if a customer wants to use animal leather instead of cruelty-free options.
It used to be that Tesla, which discontinued the use of animal leather in 2017, was basically the only automobile company using vegan leather. However, that is no longer the case. As demands for cruelty-free and sustainable alternatives increase, companies are responding quickly. For example, Audi is implementing vegan leather in two new Audi vehicles: the e-tron GT and the e-tron Q4. However, the vegan leather will soon be made an available option for many other Audi models.
Volkswagen has recently introduced an electric SUV that utilizes vegan leather for the interior. The vegan leather is provided by a brand called AppleSkin, which is sustainable and cruelty-free “leather” made from apple juice waste. The vegan and eco-friendly Volkswagen SUV is set to become available by 2021.
Other automobile companies have also begun answering consumer demand, such as Volvo (introducing a vegan electric vehicle in 2020), BMW (offering a recycled vegan interior option called Sensatec), Toyota, Range Rover, Mercedes Benz, and more. This is exciting news, as vegans and environmentalists alike will have many more vehicle options to choose from aside from Tesla. As the demand for vegan and sustainable materials in vehicles rapidly increases, we can expect to see more vehicle brands shift their practices to accommodate consumer preferences.