Inside Out

How superior interiors became the focus for automakers trying to win buyers in a crowded market

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Good interiors don't always cost more money. Ford actually saved about $75 on the well-reviewed passenger compartment of the new Mustang. Good-looking plastics often don't cost any more than the junk. Careful integration of components can also save money that a manufacturer can divert to better materials, like leather, wood or brushed aluminum.
"Interiors have become the leading edge in the way a manufacturer meet the needs and desires of consumers," asserts Brett Smith, an analyst with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Manufacturers that already know that have a head start. v
Paul A. Eisenstein publishes on the Web.
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