Detroit — Automotive executives and head designers at this year's North American International Auto Show mostly talked in circles when asked about the plastic components gleaming on their recently unveiled vehicles. But there was at least one material that fell from their lips as easily as the words steel or aluminum: carbon fiber.
Cadillac executives were the first to say the words during a Jan. 13 media briefing, a day before the Detroit auto show officially opened to more than 5,000 journalists attending the press preview.
"The XT6 Sport models, like the vehicle that you see here, feature more aggressive elements such as gloss black exterior details and carbon fiber interior accents," Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said during the debut of the 2020 XT6, a three-row sport utility vehicle.
The automaker also used the event to announce Cadillac as the first brand under General Motors Co. to lead its next-generation electric vehicle platform, which is expected to launch on a Cadillac crossover in 2021.
Andrew Smith, executive director of global Cadillac design, said with the new "electrical architecture," you will start seeing a "reinterpretation of the application of materials and finishes" and a "unique interplay of materials and forms."
"As we think about transitions, it's how do you make one material do interesting things and become other materials? The whole transition from one to another is something that's really intriguing to me," he said.