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Whilst many of these changes have been wholly lamentable for having happened, a trip just last week in the latest offering from the darling of California, Tesla, proved that this 'special relationship' could have been put to far greater use righting one of the greatest travesties of the modern world: the American car interior. Whilst we may now have a navy that resembles a rubber duck in a bathtub, if there is one thing that we have maintained is our position as the last word in luxury and exquisite detail. Now, I can hear the Napa valley faithful crying foul that the Tesla Model S is an incredible car, and it is, but if, under that seductive exterior, it has an achilles heel, it is the interior. Whilst the array of technologies has been a boon for the tech-savvy, iPhone-toting clientele that revere Elon Musk's vision for the future, for a car that can cost upwards of $100,000, and therefore very much in the 'luxury' segment, the interior simply cannot compete with its European counterparts. Yes, the 17-inch touchscreen that dominates the centre console will undoubtedly be mimicked in almost every manufacturer going forward, but this was but a mild distraction from the bigger issues.
American manufacturers have been laughed at since time immemorial for their use of cabin materials but in this day and age, and for the nation that brought us the synthesis of form and function that was the iPod, it shouldn't be this way. Rather than continuing General Motors' use of hilariously cheap plastics and 'leather', that could in no way trace its origins to anything bovine, this 'special relationship' could have been put to use ensuring improvement across the board. Whilst it would be an affront to paint Tesla's offering with the same brush as say, a Chevrolet Cavalier, there are huge improvements to be made. Ironically, for a car that wields so much torque, the seats offer little support and one would have to question what part of the cow it is that adorns them. Similarly, the plastics, whilst not as thin as those one would find surrounding a Happy Meal toy, do not have the plush 'soft-touch' feel that has been standard from British and European marques for quite some time.
Changes like these would have huge ramifications for the general perception of american cars. Rather than being the evergreen butt of jokes and perennial whipping boy these cars could actually pose a viable alternative to key players such as Jaguar Land Rover and any of Deutschland's big three. Heeding lessons from companies that actually understand luxury and refinement would give access to markets that the US, unusually for them, surrendered due to woeful public perception on the other side of the pond.