I felt awkward, like I was the chairman of the National Hard Pretzel Manufacturers Assn. asking George W. Bush to establish a National Pretzel Day. (He almost choked to death on one in January.) But what the heck, I was able to catch a few minutes with two of North America’s top automotive designers last month in Detroit at the auto show, so I had to ask, in so many words, a question that’s been gnawing at me: Why can’t Detroit do interiors as well as the Europeans or the Japanese? I ...

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