DETROIT – The idea of using light-emitting diodes or other small lights to personalize or enhance the styling of interiors has been around for a while, but it appears to be turning into a mainstream trend for the new model year.

At the 2007 North American International Auto Show here, Chrysler Group CEO Tom LaSorda calls attention to the “ambient lighting” feature in the interior of the new Chrysler minivans, and Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co. president-The Americas, talks about its use on vehicles such as the Ford Focus.

The quirky Toyota Motor Corp. Scion xB was one of the first vehicles to use strategically placed colored lights under the dash and elsewhere to create different types of mood lighting.

Now it appears almost every auto maker is fiddling with the idea as a means of allowing owners to personalize interiors with splashes of their favorite color according to taste or mood.

The new Chrysler minivans use lights in the headliner to create a unique effect, and Fields says Focus customers will be able to light interiors with up to seven different colors that illuminate various parts, including cupholders.

Lighting and interior suppliers say the use of compact, colored LEDs allow a wide variety of applications.

dwinter@wardsauto.com