2011 Hyundai Elantra

Cloth, leather, Alcantara and that weird netting on the dashboards of some Chevrolet Cruze sedans are all examples of the varied materials employed to build the interior spaces of modern automobiles. Hyundai is exploring new ways to bring the passenger cabin together, and the newest item at the Korean automaker's disposal is volcanic rock.

Hyundai wanted to add a bit more luxury to the passenger space of its newest models. The Elantra and Accent both needed fabric-wrapped A-pillars to up the class quotient inside, but that would have raised the customer's purchase price. Alternatives were sought and engineers concocted a blend of plastic resin, fibrous material and volcanic rock. The end result is a plastic material that provides the look and feel of being wrapped in cloth, with the apparent cost savings that come from stuff belched forth from the Earth's underground.