• Aug 29, 2007
Interior design is one area where GM is lagging behind its European and Japanese rivals, but there's hope just beyond the horizon. Fully aware of its shortcomings, GM has put a new, more focused emphasis on improving the style and quality of its vehicles' interiors and a handful of official computer-generated concept renderings reveal that there's some very innovative thinking going down in Detroit.

The soon-to-be released Cadillac CTS is one such car that has shown what can be done. Its new interior shows a level of craftsmanship and style that not so long ago was limited to the domain of significantly more expensive imports. If all goes to plan, you won't have to shell out big bucks to enjoy a car with a nice cabin, either. These new concept sketches show several interior design elements, one specific to the Chevy and Pontiac brands as well as designs for GM's SUV and trucks.

[Source: Cheers and Gears]



Most of the renderings depict concepts for vehicle center stacks and climate-control systems of the future, but one of the more interesting images reveals a future multi-function key fob with an LCD surface and voice recognition features inspired by none other than Knight Rider's K.I.T.T.

Other drawings preview future designs for the center stack of GM's Lambda-based crossovers, better known as the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave, as well as a new design for its Chevy Malibu and Saturn Aura models and an upcoming SUV from Cadillac. Another highlight is a configurable instrument cluster with a jewel-like central dial sitting atop an electronic faceplate that can switch between the speedometer, tachometer or navigation system. Not just a pretty face, the designs have some ergonomic benefits, as well. Integrating the vehicle's sat nav screen into the main instrument cluster, for example, would mean drivers no longer have to turn their head away from the road to look up directions.

The latest Cadillacs have shown major improvements in quality and design, and as these new renderings show, there's more in store for the rest of GM's fleet. Now the race is on to see how quickly the systems move from the design studio to the showroom, and hopefully it's sooner rather than later.


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  • 33 Comments
      Will
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ivy League Educated, I went to grad school in New Haven at the Ivy League university there. But most of the time I never mention it and I don't care if people know that I went there or not. You are definitley the pretentious type who would drive by in your awesome Lexus and not signal (you're probably just too above signaling). Oh, do you know what I drove cross country from the Seattle to Connecticut? A Chevy S-10 Blazer. Then guess what, I drove it home, then back cross country to New Haven again. This was after my brother drove it Seattle to Florida for flight school, and back. It was a fun, dependable, study good truck. We put multiple, multiple thousand miles on it, in dirt, snow, asphalt, and it got the job done. We didn't have pretty little puple lights little around the licence plate, to light it up at night. Not anything against puple lights - on a tree at Christmas time or at a party, they look nice. But I don't fuss over my car with dumb things like added on mufflers or air dams, or the violet lights. GM doesn't worry much about these stupid add ons, either. Thank god! People like you and all the others who jump on the band wagon, and have your annoying little customized Jap cars, which make noise and you don't seem to know what a (lane switching) signal is -you don't know a thing about current GM or Ford vehicles. Go hang out with your friends and tell your awesome street racing zoom zoom stories. Or get in your pretentous Lexus and go to your up tight partner or spouse.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Umm, these are not designs of the future.

      These are design props that were made on 2007 & 2008 model year vehicles like the Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Malibu.

      Chances are, you won't see any of these ideas in a new vehicle, except for maybe the GPS in the cluster, but I am fairly certain there is a law against that as it would be a driving distraction.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm sorry but I'm going to get on the soapbox.

      Ford's trucks may be okay (havent paid attention) but their cars, specifically the Fusion, has the cheapest looking gauge cluster possible.
        • 7 Years Ago
        supposed to be a reply to SPG.

        Autoblog,
        the reply button is kind of flaky.
      • 7 Years Ago
      GMs downfall is not that they can't do great interiors, it's that they've chosen not to. They never do anything until they're dragged kicking and screaming into it. Well, the market offers consumers lots of choice and rewards them continuously for their intelligence.

      GM's belief that the dogs keep eating the dogfood they're serving up, ran out of gas 15 years ago. GM spends millions of their stakeholders' dollars studying the best of their competition and then for years, their solution is to serve up those god-awful, rental car interiors. The general car-shopping public should presume nothing other than, "this is what GM believes we deserve."

      Lots of people voted with their feet and are now driving everything other than GM products.

      Who knows, maybe someday before the last sheet of plywood goes up on the last window of their last factory, someone will wake up at GM and actually start treating the consumer intelligently, but no one's holding their breath.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Point is, GM's arrogance takes the form of products they have to put thousands of $$$ on the hood to get people to buy - maybe one day they'll wake up but it'll be many market share drops later as America continues to shrug off GM gladly
        Will
        • 7 Years Ago
        I would like to drive a GM, but of course I can't, cause I'm only so cool, like all of the guys here bad mouthing GM, if I drive a Scion, Volkswagen, Toyota or Honda. It doesn't matter that GM makes nice cars, I have to COOL ENOUGH and I don't have the ability to think for myself and do what I want. I have to do what everyone else in my group does, cause only they no what is cool. I have to do what they do. Just must. So sad. Oh, isn't it funny how I tell you all about the things wrong with GM cars when I haven't ever been in one for ages and haven't ever owned one, or the one I did own was my Grandpa's 1977 car. But of course I know all about them. Get out of the way, Dude! I'm getting in that so it Sion (who, I mean that butt ugly square thing which I feel every pot hole in and with the meager assed engine. But it's made by Toyota. It's cool. GM isn't. Don't ask why or think about it.) Just believe what everyone else in the gang and at school and on the web says. Oh, even though I barely passed high school, isn't it cool I can read anyway?? See ya
      • 7 Years Ago
      It is About time, the interiors of U.S. cars are still not up to snub. Our Car companies need make sure that the materials are better even in the lower end cars. and the look of the interiors have to be better.But this is a step in the right direction .The whole world wants a upscale feeling about what they buy,look at apple and look at the materials they use. GM needs to take some lessons from Jonathan Ive. But this is a step in the right direction cheers to GM
      • 7 Years Ago
      nice one on the cadillac.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Demestics kind of had a free ride for so many years. Now that the Jap cars are really starting to take a chunk of the biz they are finally forced to get off the but and make desent products.

      It's about time their interiors left the 80's!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford - smartened up years ago, however they are getting a little "blingy" in some trucks now.
      Chrysler - smartened up a few years ago to some degree but the interior plastics quality is terrible feeling and looking. To the degree that if it is actually durable that it's hardly the issue anymore.
      GM - The last to smarten up and get competitive. The worse offenders of them all and have had some of the worst designed and built interiors imaginable. Either too bland or too busy. Hideous and cheap. However in the last few years they have come a long way and have some of the best interiors in their respective classes. I am not including Cadillac but that division will be there soon.

      Toyota and Honda (Last gen Accord, Civic, and Camry) had a really bad slump but seem to be over it now.
        • 7 Years Ago
        SPG,

        So do you think the split-level "Starship Enterprise" dash on the new Civic is good?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Justin, I agree that MANY people really like that dash.
        Months before that car came out the Civic brochures were flying around my former place of employment. People were fixated with the dash. Several times a day people asked me if I wanted to see pictures of the dash.
        For the record we did nothing professionally with cars, just loans. Not even car loans.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Good point. That does look terrible.
      • 7 Years Ago
      When I was in the market for a new car two years ago, the interior ended up being one of the most important parts of my decision. I looked at a Chevy Cobalt and actually thought it was decent on the inside. The first interior I liked from Chevy.

      But I ended up getting a Corolla, whose electroluminescent cluster is very sharp. A Pontiac Vibe was also on the short list, but I ended up passing on it.
      Richard A. Thomas
      • 7 Years Ago
      Although I certainly applaud the better quality, what I'd really like to see is the return of colored interiors. For several years now, all we've had to choose from all the manufacturers are gray, black, or tan. I remember the red, blue, and even green interiors in the cars I grew up admiring. These colors provided a nice compliment to several exterior paint colors. Red interiors especially accented white, black, and gray cars very nicely. Blue interiors also look good on white, gray, and beige cars too. I'm sure this current trend of only offering these blah-looking "Neutral" tones was done to streamline the assembly process, but how much more could it cost to give us back actual colors for interiors?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Japanese interiors aren't all that great, in fact some are down right awful, though that said, some are fantastic, such as the latest model Nissan Cima.

      GM are doing well, and are finally listening to customers, and there is a definite improvement in their cars overall over the last few years. They're closing the gap, and should be encouraged on this end.

      The first image looks like an interesting concept, though I foresee that embedded nav as being a little distracting; ideally you do not want your attention held by something like that which is down low, out of your driving view - you might be tempted to look at that 3d map view too long.

      LCD style displays are definitely the way, as clarity and brightness and even colour is adjustable.
      • 7 Years Ago
      All the bad mouthing of GM's past interiors makes it sound like they lagged the competition by decades. Give me a break. They weren't best in class, but please don't tell me they were decades worse than the competition. There's enough hyperbole in the world as it is.

      When critics can't complain about the current or future GM offerings, they have to bring up irrelevant stories from the past.

      How about we complain about the cheap and ugly interiors in today's BMW's? How these monstrosities get a continued free pass in the media is beyond me.
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