After languishing at the bottom of product development, vehicle interior design is returning to prominence at General Motors Corp., says Vice Chairman Bob Lutz at the Ward's Auto Interiors Show in Detroit.
For decades, GM had missed the point of both elegant and functional cabin design, Lutz says. Some executives considered it as the place to save money; “the last happy hunting ground where a vehicle line executive could claw back the cost.”
Interior design was such an afterthought in GM culture, he says, that it took a while to convince an executive he was being promoted, not demoted, when he was moved to the interior design leadership slot.
“It's the last place in the world where you want to advertise the cheapness of your product,” says Lutz. “It's no longer permissible or possible to strip the interior.”