Cadillac is the only full-line automaker constructing all of its models' interiors via Cut-and-Sew, a technique combining the precision of advanced technology with the care of handcraftsmanship in which materials for major interior components are literally joined by hand stitching.
"Put simply, Cut-and-Sew is people sitting behind sewing machines and sewing the material together," said Eric Clough, director of design, Cadillac interiors. "We use Cut-and-Sew in Cadillacs because it is distinctive and a very premium process."
Before pieces are sewn together to form the coverings for various interior components, materials and hides are hand-inspected and the patterns "nested" by a scrap-reducing computer-automated machine. These pieces are transferred to different stations for the hand-sewing of functional and decorative stitching. Application to the various interior parts – such as dashboards, door panels and center consoles – are also done by hand.
Lasers that cut the perforation for the airbag door and three-dimensional computer mapping that determines the best way to fit materials onto a certain interior piece fuse state-of-the-art technology with the human touch.
"Cut-and-Sew shows a level of craftsmanship and a level of care taken in creating a product," said Erin Crossley, design manager, Cadillac color and trim. "It gives something for the customer to connect with. You see the same kind of material detailing in other items luxury consumers value, like high-end furniture and leather handbags."
While many luxury carmakers have used this technique for top-end models, no other brand applies them to all its cars. Cadillac offers Cut-and-Sewn interiors from its entry ATS product line up through to the Escalade SUV.
The Cadillac design and engineering teams work with several suppliers to craft the interiors, which are installed during final vehicle assembly.
"There are other mass-produced processes that are less expensive, more efficient and don't require as many people, but when you see the real thing you know that it's genuine," Clough said.