Ford Toughens the Leather Seats in the 2015 F-150

Ford tests its 2015 F-150's leather seats.

Ford tests its 2015 F-150’s leather seats.

When your “last name” is Tough, even the seats matter.

Ford engineers had a unique challenge as they sat down to design the 2015 F-150. Some of the older model pickups would show wear on the leather seats after 150,000 miles and 10 years. Routine testing techniques wouldn’t replicate the problem. So, they came up with something different. They hired some guys the size of offensive linemen and caked them in a special dirt from the Salt River Valley in Arizona. The “Arizona Dust”, as Ford engineers call it, had especially fine particles that broke down the leather over time. Day after day, these men had to wear the same caked in dirt jeans. Not only that, they had to smear even more dirt all over the leather seats. Each man had to get in and out of the truck 10,000 times. Finally, to accelerate testing and relieve the tired work crew, they designed a unique robot to get in and out of the new truck.

Based on their learnings, engineers came up with a new process for making the seats that strikes the right balance between being durable, but maintaining the soft and supple feel of the leather for comfort and looks. Check out the video to see what lengths Ford went to make its seats the most durable the company has ever made.