Katzkin Makes a Push to Reskin Your Ride

Katzkin Ram Seats Side by Side

By Aaron Bragman

Tired of sitting on plain, boring cloth in your expensive pickup truck's seats? Maybe you've got a truck that's 10 or 15 years old and you want to recapture some of that new-truck feel, but don't want to shell out $50,000 or more for a new luxury truck?

California-based Katzkin Leather has been providing cut-and-sewn leather replacement interiors for mid-market cars and trucks for years, and now the company is making it easier to reupholster your vehicle. Katzkin typically operates through dealerships; if a dealer has a dozen low-trim-level pickups on the lot and wants to fancy them up without adding big bucks to the sticker price, Katzkin comes in and provides custom leather seats. The net result? Buyers get a nicer truck without shelling out for higher trim levels that might include items they don't want.

That's how Katzkin CEO Tim Clyde described the company's strategy to date during a media event at Softtrim Concepts in Fraser, Mich. — a shop that has done a lot of work for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' show cars.

On hand at the shop was a new 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon featuring a Katzkin leather interior that can now be ordered directly through the Mopar Custom Shop, a dealer-order service from FCA's aftermarket group that allows buyers to customize their rides with a limited number of selections, right from the factory. By working with a licensed dealer or installer, customers can up the personalization quotient considerably, and not just with Wranglers. We also saw a new seat out of the 2019 Ram 1500 next to one from a 2018 model for comparison, as Softtrim Concepts works to test some of the latest offerings for upcoming products.

Katzkin Jeep 3

Katzkin Jeep 2

In a strategy shift, Katzkin will now also target people who already own a vehicle and might want to refresh it or add some pizazz to it before a sale. For around $1,500 to $2,200, according to Clyde, customers can get the seat material on their front and backseats replaced with custom leather upholstery, including the installation fee. It could even less, according to installer George Paul of Softtrim. If you keep it pretty basic and can find the right dealer, you can get it down to nearly $1,000, he said.

That kind of price makes for an interesting proposition, as it's a modification that significantly changes the appearance and interior feel of a truck. The seats receive all-new upholstery. These are not seat covers; the original upholstery is removed and the pre-sewn Katzkin covers are then placed over the foam. Installation technically can be done by a skilled do-it-yourselfer, but guaranteeing fit and finish requires the skills of a professional installer. Once installed, the leather quality and fit and finish are indistinguishable from a factory-ordered leather interior.

We're looking forward to seeing some new examples of upcoming Ram trucks and vehicles from other brands with some pretty wild interiors. Katzkin's Clyde said that the company has seat patterns for just about any mid-level brand vehicle — think Ford and Toyota, not Lexus or Mercedes-Benz — and installation can occur within a few days of ordering the custom seats. Right now you can see more options at Katzkin.com, but for a true "configure your own seat" app, you'll have to wait a few months. Clyde said a new configurator will be up and running then.

Cars.com photos by Aaron Bragman


Very cool top shelf option for older trucks and cars. For a lower-priced top shelf option, check with your local suppliers about getting nice factory hides from a wrecked Lincoln, Caddie, Benz or Chrysler...You'll get a new seat and sliders in the process too

Good suggestion papajim.

I missed something, right now anyone can go to their dealer and have these leather seats installed. It says now they are targeting people that already own a truck? Plus, it does not say how they are targeting these people? Do I get something in the mail? TV commercials? internet add's on car forums?

Just what I wanted. Old Cadillac embroidery in my Chevy. Great idea. Not. But it's got sliders? What is this the 70s?

My dad bought a new truck. He wanted leather but didn't want all the extras that came with leather so he bought cloth. He saved about 6,000 dollars on his truck this way and has everything he wants but the leather. Once the seats get a little worn out he plans to replace them with these. I plan to do my truck soon as well.

@papa jim--True. I have heard of Suburban owners taking leather seats out of junked Esclades and GMCs.

This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new artist.Thanks for sharing it.

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