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How Ford Brought Eco-Friendly Foam into Over 18 Million Vehicles

November 3rd, 2017


West Michigan Drivers Reap Benefits of Renewable Research & Testing

At Borgman Ford, we’re always interested in the latest news regarding new technology in the auto industry, especially when its focus is to improve the experience of West Michigan drivers. Over the years, Ford has been making a big push to minimize their impact on the environment, all the while making a better product for their customers. Some of this is done directly, through reducing their water usage and manufacturing waste, while other efforts are a bit more unconventional.

For example, take the driver’s seat in a Ford Vehicle. Years and years ago, using petroleum-based foam padding was the industry standard, and because oil was so cheap, there wasn’t much of an incentive to research and develop an eco-friendly alternative. Also, when the seat was worn out or the vehicle was retired, all of those non-renewable materials end up where you’d expect – a junkyard or a landfill.

Over the past 10 years, Ford has been developing and advocating for the use of renewable materials throughout their vehicles, with recycled soybean foam at the forefront. Since the first appearance of soybean-based foam in the seats of the 2008 Mustang, it’s been a key material used in the seat cushions, seat backs and headrests of every Ford vehicle built in North America.

Renewable Materials Can & Do Replace Petroleum-Based Ones

Making sure these new and renewable materials outperform their petroleum-based counterparts is another key part of the issue. People in West Michigan and the world over choose Ford because of the quality and reliability of their product, and if renewable but otherwise sub-par seating is a part of that product, they’ve been done a disservice.

Just bringing the idea to market in the first place was a challenge. During the initial testing, none of the foams met the rigorous requirements of automotive seating. Early trials failed to meet durability standards for seat cushions, which need to rebound for the equivalent of 15 years. Apart from that, the early foams smelled absolutely terrible. Needless to say, a lot of work went into resolving these issues before bringing soybean-based foam to market.

After the foam was reformulated to meet or exceed automotive standards, and that awful smell was removed, it was rolled out all over North America. Since that time, over 18.5 million vehicles have been produced with renewable soybean-based foam, preventing more than 228 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. You can read the full story about Ford’s research into soybeans on

Experience Ford’s Renewable Foam Seating at Borgman Ford in Grand Rapids

If you’re curious about what the soybean-based foam feels like, we invite you to stop by the Borgman Ford showroom and take any of our New Ford Vehicles out for a test drive! Our friendly staff will be happy to help you and answer any questions you may have about the 2018 Ford Lineup. Please feel free to browse our New Ford Inventory, and if you see a new Ford car, truck, or SUV you’d like to try, click the red ‘Schedule Test Drive” button to get started! We hope to see you soon!


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