Automotive designers used to have three choices when it came to decorative trim for interiors: real wood, fake wood, or just plain plastic. That left little room to create a unique personality for a specific car or truck.
But automotive design now is shifting to a new era that tries to give a hand-crafted look to mass-produced interiors, and that's leading to the use of new textures and materials inside the car, like brushed aluminum - and granite.
Engineers who've spent their careers trying to make cars lighter may be horrified by the idea, but the granite trim on the new top-of-the line Mercedes-Benz Coupe is very thin and reportedly doesn't weigh more than the wood typically used for luxury car interiors. It could eventually make its way to the U.S.
Real granite isn't going to show up on mainstream cars any time soon, but suppliers already are showing off light-weight, low-cost fake granite made of plastic.