- in a dispute between two manufacturers of luxurious, suedelike auto trim materials, the maker of alcantara (the fabric seen inside a maserati mc20, above) has claimed victory in an italian court against the maker of dinamica.
- both companies market their products as targeting environmental sustainability, but alcantara said dinamica's claims were misleading, and the court agreed.
- with this victory, dinamica can no longer be marketed as the one that's most environmentally friendly—an important selling point for a product often used to replace leather.
the world of automotive color, trim, and materials is a world of beauty and elegance; it is rarely associated with corporate drama. but don't be fooled. behind the scenes, the competition can be just as ruthless as in any other business. case in point: one of the top players in automotive interior materials, alcantara, has taken miko, the maker of dinamica, to court in italy over what it said were misleading advertising claims. both companies make a suedelike fabric that's found as interior trim in many higher-end vehicles, often as an alternative to leather. now alcantara has won a resounding victory in court that means miko can no longer claim "green" superiority in its advertising.
the drama pertains to the environmental friendliness of both materials, perhaps the key topic for automakers as these artificial materials are increasingly touted as a more sustainable alternative to traditional leather. miko has claimed that dinamica is "friendly to the environment" and "the natural choice." perhaps most offensive to alcantara, miko also advertises its product as "the first and only microfibre that guarantees eco-sustainability throughout the production cycle," the court said. this led alcantara to file suit, and now the court of gorizia, italy, has ruled in the company's favor.
alcantara, one of the most luxurious materials you can get in an automotive interior, was developed in the early 1970s. resembling the properties of suede leather, it was a hallmark of premium and luxury cars from such makers as lancia and maserati before it trickled down to many other brands such as alfa romeo and porsche. it is especially well suited to sporty cars because it makes the surface of seats and steering wheels grippy. porsche's andreas preuninger told car and driver in 2017 that he loves the stuff; so do a lot of other people. over the years, the success of the brand has attracted competitors including miko, which started making its dinamica material in 1997 and currently supplies interiors for the land rover defender v8 and the volkswagen id.4 (below), among others.
both are synthetic. the website for miko's product, dinamica, describes the material as "a microfiber which resembles suede and is obtained through an innovative process for recycling polyester." it's manufactured by immersing fabrics in a "water-based polyurethane bath without the use of organic solvents." alcantara, too, is concerned with its environmental friendliness and even publishes an annual sustainability report. the italian court's ruling says miko inaccurately advertised its product as the "green" choice and claimed it was 100 percent recyclable, something that the company has not yet achieved.
the court found that miko's advertising could adversely affect the older company's sales, stating in the ruling: "it is likely that it will not affect the consumer’s choice as to the car he or she will purchase, but it could certainly guide the choice of material used for the interior trim and thus benefit miko." the italian court's verdict is a huge blow for dinamica: not only will the company have to stop the "green" claims immediately, it is also required to correct them on a number of italian and international media outlets and to put the court's verdict on the homepage of its website, where you can admire it right now.