The dying or painting of the leather is permanent and does not rub off on clothing
or fade during adverse weather conditions. Many marques carry out various tests on their leather as well as other things
to ensure the quality and durability of the leather meets the high standards of the vehicles they are to be used in.
Full grain leather is one of the well known features that can be found in luxury high end vehicles.
Many people may not know the term full grain leather, they may know names such as nappa leather, premium
leather interior or simply leather seats but many high end vehicle owners have been introduced to full grain
leather in the interior of their vehicle.
Full grain leather is basically the full hide of the animal being tanned with no layer of the hide being removed.
Only the fur of the animal is removed and this extends the durability and longevity of the leather.
Full grain leather can be made from various animal hides but cow hides are the most popular (an animal already
reared for its meat). The hides undergo a process known as tanning to become leather. Sometimes layers of the hides can
be removed and/or complexed tanning processes can weaken the leather.
All leather interiors are not of the same quality. Various types of leather can be found on the interior of vehicles
today but full grain is one of the best quality if not the best quality leather so I have chosen to base my explanation on
this type of leather for high end automotive interiors.
Any type of leather has several benefits when used in car interiors. Leather has millions of minute holes which allow
it to breathe. it is resistant to most liquids in spite of these holes and any liquid can be easily cleaned with a piece of
cloth and it is much more difficult to stain leather with liquids and chemicals.
There is also the distinctive smell of leather which assist in distinguishing it from any leather substitutes. This
new leather smell is also admired by buyers.
Leather is also died or painted during or after the tanning process so buyers have numerous colour options to
choose from to suit their taste. Colours can me mixed for one interior if the marque has a
build you own or bespoke program.
Now all full grain leather is not of the same quality and some marques attempt to get the best. This starts by some high
end marques with their selection of cow hides. Some marques only use bulls as there is no stretching of the skin during pregnancy.
One marque select cows from areas where there are little or no insects reduce marks on the skin. Another company selects cows
from an area where they don't use barb wire on their fence also to reduce marks on their skin.
After the best grade is selected they are tanned in batches and a car is covered in leather from the same batch to
maintain colour consistency throughout the car. The leather is also visually checked in many cases for marks and imperfections
and the leather is then cut to avoid these marks being visible to the customer.
In luxury and ultra luxury vehicles, full grain leather can cover everything in the interior that is not already
covered in wood veneers, metal or alcantara head lining. The seats, the doors, the steering wheel, the pillars, the dashboard
and the center console are usually covered in leather.
Ultra luxury vehicles with all these areas covered in full grain leather can require as much as thirteen hides to make
up the leather interior for one car.