Johnson Controls Clicks With LEGO Concept Vehicle

May 7, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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HOLLAND – Kids have been working on these concept vehicles for years. But now a Lakeshore automotive supplier and a national toy company are teaming to make those childhood dreams a reality.

Johnson Controls Inc. and LEGO Systems Inc. last week unveiled the “ultimate family concept vehicle” that makes prominent use of toys.

The LEGO InMotion concept vehicle made its debut at the 2001 North American International Auto Show at Detroit’s Cobo Center on Jan. 7.

OK, maybe it’s not made out of LEGOs, but the vehicle has created a new partnership. LEGO InMotion redefines the vehicle interior with more than 50 new features to surprise and delight consumers.

According to the companies, the bold colors and materials used in the concept vehicle express the brand synergies between JCI and LEGO. The design was developed based on extensive consumer research, conducted by JCI, on what families need and want in their vehicles.

“This new concept reflects our company’s world-class ability to interpret consumers’ needs and, along with partners like LEGO, translate them into innovative products developed for people in motion,” said Bob Ellis, vice president of product marketing and brand development for JCI.

“LEGO InMotion by Johnson Controls is a creative and innovative new approach to family travel,” said Peter Eio, president of LEGO Systems Inc. “Parents have long sought to find a new and absorbing ways in which to keep children engaged on long journeys by road. LEGO InMotion incorporates many unique features that will enhance the travel experience for young families in an interactive and safe environment. We eagerly look forward to seeing this new generation of child-friendly vehicles on the road.”

According to Ellis, the front-passenger zone of LEGO InMotion was designed with adults in mind, while the second- and third-row areas are geared toward children of all ages. For example, the first row floor is made of luxurious materials, while the floor in the second and third rows is comprised of an easy-to-clean, rubber-like material.

“Recent research shows that children have an impact on their parents’ vehicle purchase decisions, so we combined the comfort and functionality parents require with the fun kids want,” said Ellis.

To develop the LEGO InMotion concept, designers turned to the company’s Consumer Research Group (CRG). By conducting extensive consumer research in the field, the CRG provided consumer insights that inspired innovation, enhanced decision-making and expanded the company’s knowledge of end users.

The company’s recent “Kids ‘n Cars” study provided the foundation to create LEGO InMotion.

Research will continue to play an important role in this vehicle’s future development. As an extension of research already conducted, the concept will be featured on LEGO’s Web site, www.lego.com, in a quick time video format that offers a 360-degree view of interior features. Consumers who visit the site will provide valuable feedback to JCI, and help the company determine the appropriate design and features for future versions of the concept.

The LEGO InMotion is also full of innovative technological advances kids will love such as a DVD control panel, electronic postcard, Internet access and a digital camera.

For adults, the front row overhead console can be reconfigured depending on

specific needs of the family. Various options include Headline Audio System, Hindsight, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, KidCam, PSI, TravelCom and TravelNote, all products developed by JCI.

The InMotion vehicle also includes unique seating products developed by JCI for added comfort. The front passenger seat is equipped with the company’s ComfortMassages technology, which features a series of electronic vibrating motors positioned in key areas of the seat to create adjustable massage rhythms and intensity.

Storage solutions, which every family needs, also are part of the design for the LEGO InMotion. The doors and quarter panels include storage pockets, removable trash bins, removable semi-soft storage bags, paper towel dispenser and flip-open storage bins.

And for fun, which is always important in a family vehicle, is a removable LEGO tent that is attached to the tailgate area.

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