Skip navigation

Reporter Notebook: Hide, Now Seek

Ward’s writers pass along the buzz at this week’s Ward’s Auto Interiors Conference in Dearborn, MI.

Just Like High School

A/V guys never get any respect.

In talking about future Gen Y buyers and what they will want in their vehicle interiors, John Oilar, vice president-engineering for Magna Seating, describes them as “tech savvy” individuals.

Then he adds, “Until you ask them to play a Homer Simpson video.”

The slap is aimed at the 20s-something audio-video guy who had difficulty cuing up a short cartoon for the previous presenter.

Taking Time to Make the Sell

Researchers from auto maker Ford and Toyota tell the auto interiors crowd here they are always on the lookout for alternative eco-friendly plastic fillers, such as wheat straw, kenaf and jute for use in vehicle components.

Nathan Mullinix, vice president of leather-maker Eagle Ottawa has a suggestion: "This is a little bit out of our area; we don't do plastics, he says.

But might I suggest leather?" Leather, he notes, is a natural by-product of the meat industry.

Hide, Now Seek

Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles, who takes the stage at auto interiors conference here to cheers for the company’s interior design turnaround, shows a handful of recent TV commercials prior to his keynote address.

Just few years ago, he says, Chrysler never would have highlighted its interiors to a national audience.

"The reason I showed those videos is we're actually proud to display them on TV," he says. "We've had to hide them in the past. It's great to see them used like that now."

Chrysler took home two awards this year with the redesigned Dodge Charger and Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit Edition.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.