Alcantara Upholstery Is So Popular, The Company Can’t Keep Up With Demand

Alcantara upholstery has exploded in popularity over the past few years and there even a dust up when a number of Tesla Model 3 customers found their vehicles weren’t equipped with the material.

Unfortunately, this newfound popularity has resulted in a crisis of epic proportions: an Alcantara shortage. While the rich haven’t begun rioting in the streets quite yet, Motor Trend reports the increased demand for the material – which is used on everything from private jets to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – has resulted in a lack of supply.

Alcantara CEO Andrea Boragno told the publication his company can only produce 8 million meters (8.7 million yards) annually but they have to turn away up to 20 percent of new business as its plant is currently running at full capacity. This is bad news for fans of the material but its great for Alcantara as the company reportedly made €187.2 ($230.7) million last year. This was due, in part, to surging demand in the automotive sector which has climbed 15% or more annually for the past seven years.

While the automotive sector makes up about 80% of Alcantara’s business, the company was reportedly caught off guard when demand for the synthetic material jumped 35% in 2015. Thankfully, the company is trying to catch up with demand as Alcantara aims to double its production capacity thanks to an investment of €300 ($369.7) million. This wouldn’t happen overnight but the company could be able to produce up to 16 million meters (17.4 million yards) annually by the end of 2023.

While few people will probably shed a tear over the Alcantara shortage, Boragno did reveal an interesting statistic as he noted the material is up to 50% lighter than leather. He says this enables an undisclosed Lamborghini model to be 11 lbs (4.9 kg) lighter than it would be with leather upholstery.

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  • Six_Tymes

    i wonder if and when it will go out of style? Obviously not any time soon.

    • Dr Strangefingger

      This issue should be short-lived as the farm down the road has decided to raise Alcantera instead of llamas.

      Shortage solved.

  • I would much prefer alcantara to leather. It keeps you cooler in the summer and prevents your rear from being frozen in the winter.

    • DMax

      You can get ventilated seats with perforated leather though, and heated seats I think are standard in every car with leather these days. Leather is also much easier to clean.

      • Maintenance items that will break or need fixing over time…

    • FoxJ30

      What’s wrong with cloth?

      • Alcantara is a special type of microfiber, is easier to clean and very durable…

  • salamOOn

    i like grey “cloth” upholstery in new Velar even more than alcantara…..

  • Kyle Newberry

    I dispise it being on steering wheels. It’s just gross feeling to me.

    • Victor Ferreira

      Not to mention it gets ruined fairly quickly. I personally don’t see the point in Alcantara except on headliners and trim pieces that aren’t always in contact with occupants. Otherwise they just get ruined easily and cost much more to replace than leather – which is already expensive.

    • Mr. Crankypants

      I agree! I recall hearing about Alcantara and when I finally got to see and feel it was dumbfounded that it was so popular. Feels gross and looks like cheap unfinished lining.

      • Kyle Newberry

        Like ruins the corvette’s steering wheel

  • Shahul Usman

    i love the feel of it for racing.. most companies make their own or use other brands.. mercedes is dinamica, chevy just says microfiber… etc..

  • Stealth333

    Alcantara for the win! I have it in all my cars! I hate leather. It is horrible in the summer and winter.

  • thunder bolt

    Enjoy your success while you can because there’s always a Chinese knockoff waiting inline to take the throne.

    • Status

      As if the tactile qualities of a knock off couldn’t be detected, not to mention the manufacturing technology is proprietary.

      • Victor Ferreira

        Doesn’t UltraSuede use the same process, only under license? Or something like that. Their literal only marketing point is the name. Because no one really feels the difference between Alcantara and UltraSuede or DINAMICA, for example.

        • Dr Strangefingger

          My sister’s cousin RayRay, well his aunt named Dinamica.

      • LeStori

        That won’t stop the “scavengers”

      • thunder bolt

        Not one European car company can successfully sue Chinese knockoff cars, not one, not Apple Iphone or any product. Every product I saw on TV invented by Westerner has a knockoff made in China.

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