The interior of a car can take years to develop a ‘soul’. Cigarette smoke needs hours of seat-adhesion to overtake a factory scent, and then it needs to wait out the chemicals in air fresheners to reassert itself. Fluids need to be spilled and cleaned, dashboards scratched, and seats rocked (in various ways). Books and trash and athletic gear must accumulate in the back.
These are the things that give an interior its character, breaking free from the staleness that clings to the inside when you drive a new car off the lot (they’re all the same!).
Chrysler claims to have solved this. Or, at least restored a ‘soul’ to its new cars when you sit in them for the first time. Compliments of this guy:
That’s Klaus Busse, head of interior design for Chrysler. At the 2012 CAR Management Briefing Seminars held in Acme, Michigan, Busse said Chrysler’s bankruptcy helped transform the autos’ new interiors. The bankruptcy in 2009 gave the remaining employees a sense of shared purpose, additional budget, and the freedom to explore different designs, leading to the 8.4 inch infotainment screen in the new 2013 Dodge Dart. Busse conducted most of his presentation from inside the car, and recalled how a Chrysler interior was once compared to the plastic of a cheap Chinese water pistol.
Now, it seems, Chrysler’s interiors are like the elaborate, mechanical Nerf water guns that you can buy in Toys R Us. (Check that. These are made in China, too.)
No, Chrysler’s interiors are more like the Green Toys Ecosaucer Flying Disc, which is made in the U.S.A from 100% recycled plastic grocery bags that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
These have tons of soul! Have you ever watched people throwing Frisbees? They’re amazing! Plus, the Frisbees are green.
That’s not a completely accurate comparison, either…the new Chrysler interiors are more like smartphones. Actually, beginning with the 2013 Dodge Ram and Viper, they will be smartphones, based on the uConnect infotainment system.
Automobile manufacturers are constantly striving for the perfect balance between all-out immersive communication and Zen (that open road thing, ya know?).
It’s just such a compromising situation for these interior designers to be in.