Unique individuals want greater personalisation of their cars

Jun 6, 2024

At a time when people seek out products and services that reflect their personal self-worth, self-image and lifestyle, it is clear this is driving a greater demand for their cars to be more bespoke, including limited editions, rare upgrades and subscription services.

Borough has a long track-record of successfully delivering a high-quality injection moulding and chrome plating service to provide components in quantity, to some of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers and their supply chain partners.

However, the demand for personalisation of new vehicles is helping develop new opportunities for Borough, as we investigate the creation of new surface finishes and textures for automotive interior and exterior highlights, potentially in far smaller quantities than we are used to.

The need to accommodate more individuality in the cars being offered, comes at a time when Euro NCAP have warned manufacturers that their continued adoption of touchscreens – a good way to offer a personalised experience – is problematic.

Customising cars is not a new idea

The automotive industry has a long and successful history of delivering more choice for customers who want to stand out, with an even larger set of options available from ‘after-market’ suppliers, with their remaps, wraps and wheels.

The potential for personalisation from most manufacturers is almost unlimited. Although a smaller range than previously available, MINI comes in 3-door and 5-door hatch, Clubman, Countryman, Electric and Convertible, with 5 performance and 5 style options. And then you can choose paint, wheels, upholstery etc., to match your personal taste.

Most of these opportunities to personalise a car to suit the individual are hardware choices, apparent to any casual observer. However, technological developments in recent years have offered a whole new raft of options for an owner to personalise their car, particularly with new digital services.

The digital services include various options for the infotainment within the cabin, including apps such as Spotify, Google Maps and even YouTube, which can all come pre-installed and accessed through the almost ubiquitous touchscreen. Which has been identified as likely to impact driver safety.

Manufacturers are developing personalised experiences for drivers, with some looking to use AI and machine learning to understand the user’s behaviour to predict possible routes, considering when the driver is likely to go home or to the office, without the driver deploying their Sat Nav.

Personalisation matters to the modern driver

Automotive manufacturers recognise that personalisation can be a strong tool to increase consumer loyalty to their brand, but it can also have a significant negative impact on user experience, if it is undertaken poorly or low-quality features are offered.

Borough recently exhibited at a ‘Supplier Engagement Day’ held at the Jaguar Land Rover Gaydon Centre, which is home to a design, research and development centre, extensive test track facilities and wind tunnels amongst a host of facilities used for the development of future models.

As someone who enjoyed many conversations on the day, about Borough’s plastic injection moulding capabilities and the variety of chrome finishes we can apply to them, many were with designers, buyers and specifiers working to personalise future models.

Whilst I’m confident many of the features used to personalise new JLR cars will involve technological developments, typically accessed through a touchscreen, limited edition models, special runs and new options will be offered too, with work from the Special Vehicle [SVR] Operations division.

The work of the SVR team is now widely advertised, offering a unique commissioning service to ensure an owner’s Range Rover Sport SVR is truly one of a kind. Now we hope conversations about the chrome components we can supply to create custom vehicles lead to orders.

The new minimalist approach adopted by some manufacturers, including body colour painted trim, body colour badges and exaggerated square body lines, has ensured a lack of diversity in appearance and bright or satin chrome, inside and out, will help deliver the personalisation buyers are seeking.