Luxury cars: It’s what’s inside that counts

A vehicle’s interior design matters more today than it ever has. Cadillac told us why.

November 14, 2016

Luxury cars are often defined by what’s on the outside, which is logical because to anyone but the owner the exterior is all a motor can be judged by.

But nowadays what really defines a luxury car isn’t the two-tone paint job or the 22-inch wheels; it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Luxury in today’s motoring world is the interior design, the entertainment system, the connectivity and the reclining seats. As much as a bespoke exterior tells the man on the street that your car is high-end, it’s the custom job inside that reminds the owner just how special it is.

As the industry moves evermore quickly towards an autonomous future, the market for interior design of luxury vehicles is only going to increase. So we asked Nadim Ghrayeb, regional sales & marketing manager at Cadillac Middle East, for an insight into the business.

What’s the number one rule of luxury car interior design?  

Luxury car interior design is about authenticity – from the types of materials and craftsmanship to the way the elements within the environment are curated. 

What designs typically personify a luxury car’s interior? 

What sets a luxury car’s interior apart from that of other vehicles is that its color and materials are designed to exude boldness and personal expression. The interior of luxury cars meticulously combines innovative technologies, premium, genuine materials and tailored craftsmanship. All these elements are blended together in truly thoughtful and artistic ways. 

How can a car company take inspiration from fashion trends and popular movements and use those in car interior design?

There is no doubt that, when it comes to car interior design, the trends that punctuate other industries – so everything from striking angles to refined details and sophisticated styling – offer inspiration and insights into material selection, color palettes, finishes and the manner that details are executed.

Trends across industries and sectors mirror each other – and that makes sense considering that, ultimately, luxury is a lifestyle. Successful car brands are able to adopt this very vision because they understand that luxury is an all-encompassing visual language.

What are today’s customers demanding more of?

It’s not about what today’s customers are demanding more of, it is about when they’re starting to demand it. The luxury market is changing at a rapid pace and people across the Middle East and around the world expect luxury at an earlier age. It’s no longer something that is aspired to. 

So in some ways, the challenge today is about delivering luxury across demographics. As for what the priorities are, the truth is, everything is a priority. In this day and age, you can’t really afford to compromise on anything because the expectations are so high across all fronts. What customers demand is a well-rounded luxury experience that is rewarding, intuitive and effortless across the board – so from a comfort, performance, design, safety, efficiency, and technology standpoint. 

As one of the oldest automobile brands in the world, how do you stay ahead of consumer trends?

In the area of trends, many people think that there are these stark regional differences – but in reality there is globalization. And most trends – even if they start regionally – go global very quickly. 

As for how we stay ahead of trends, our approach is very simple: we aim to set trends, not follow them. Consumer trends are moving faster than ever, and the only way to stay ahead of the curve is to stay committed to our brand pillars but also remain responsive, proactive, and flexible in our approach. 

How important is the interior design to the actual mechanics of the car?

They go hand-in-hand. Cadillac mechanical controls have a solidity, precise movement and jewel-like detail. Premium materials, textures, and finishes are layered, invite discovery and convey craftsmanship to the driver and passenger. In short, there isn’t one specific element that is more important than the other – it is very much a marriage. With this in mind, we make sure that luxury permeates all aspects of our vehicles – both inside and out. 

What part does innovation play in the interior design atheistic of a car and how has it changed over the years?

Over the years, our designers have continued to rely on state-of-the-art technologies that allow them to use materials in new, groundbreaking ways. For example, we have cut-and-sew – hand cut, wrapped and sewn – interiors. They are beautifully executed and unique at the same time. 

In the area of deco trim, revolutionary technology has enabled exploration and reinterpretation in the use of genuine wood, carbon fiber, suede, leather, fabric and metal. 

Nadim Ghrayeb is regional sales & marketing manager at Cadillac Middle East.