Your mother always told you it's what's inside that counts.
After giving interiors short shrift for decades, Detroit's Big Three auto makers have come to the same conclusion.
That will start becoming apparent as new '03 and '04 cars and trucks start rolling out next year and new concept vehicles debut at major auto shows.
U.S. interior design is entering a new, more opulent era.
From Chrysler's Crossfire coupe to Ford's upcoming F-150 fullsize pickup, consumers will see a new attention to fits, finishes, textures and overall details that has typically been lacking in Detroit's new products.
General Motors Corp. has been trailing in this area, but now is making up for lost time behind the scenes with prodding from Robert A. Lutz, GM's vice chairman and product chief. He's been spotted at numerous auto shows going through competitor vehicles with teams of top executives and designers.
For the first time, Detroit auto makers are looking over their interiors with a magnifying glass, paying attention to details and creating a level of craftsmanship that just wasn't there before. The lines of the instrument panel will match up and flow more evenly into door trim panels, without big and uneven gaps.
Plastic surfaces will look smoother, more organic, and less glossy. Surface grains and textures will be finer, clearer and better match abutting surfaces of the interior.