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Old 09-23-2006, 11:52 PM   #1
Boober
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Default Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Hi all, I just thought I would register with the community since I will be buying an Outlook for my wife next year. As a side bonus, I thought it might be fun for you guys to get some of the inside info on the early concept development of which I was a part of in 2003/2004.

First of all, I can only really talk about the early conceptual and production development for the Saturn, Buick and Pontiac (yes the GMC was originally a Pontiac). I cannot really give any info on the more detailed production development as I was moved from the project after Concept Design Sign-Off. Also, I feel this is VERY important to mention: I can't tell you much of anything about the engineering of the LAMBDA platform as a Designer and an Engineer at two very different jobs. Designer=make things pretty. Engineer=make things work.

Since I am no longer in the Automotive industry, I am not bound by any confidentiality agreements (not that I know any real sensitive info anyway) so I hope to answer to the best of my recollection.

Ont last thing, I am sorry in advace if I am a little late in my replies. I don't always have ready access to a computer so please be patient with me.

And so, with that out of the way...Fire away!

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Old 09-24-2006, 09:05 PM   #2
hedges1
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

I have one question. It appears as though the 3rd row in the Outlook does not have LATCH anchors for car seats. Is that true? If not, why is that not a feature? Very few cars/suv's with 3 rows offer that feature and it's a shame. It would be very rare to have kids in the third row but it sure would be a nice feature.

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Old 09-24-2006, 09:14 PM   #3
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Anything you can share about the quality of the interior materials and/or fit and finish would be great. Even benchmark vehicles would be good to know. Will the Acadia or Enclave be the top line version?
I have an 04 Vue RL. The interior plastic looks tacky and mars if anything touches it. The cheap Saturn interiors are the biggest draw back to an otherwise good vehicle.

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Old 09-24-2006, 09:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hedges1
I have one question. It appears as though the 3rd row in the Outlook does not have LATCH anchors for car seats. Is that true? If not, why is that not a feature? Very few cars/suv's with 3 rows offer that feature and it's a shame. It would be very rare to have kids in the third row but it sure would be a nice feature.
IMO - The LATCH is not on the third row seating areas for safety concerns. I've read many accident reports of childern being hurt in the 3rd row seating areas in SUV's and minivans.

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Old 09-24-2006, 09:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Latch Easy Answer = government only requires 2 in the 2nd row. Adding more would add cost. I believe I just heard of the first 3 row SUV with 3rd row LATCH (but I forget which one it is).

Saturn should have added at least one in the center of the 3rd row. A seatbelt will secure a carseat just as well (and Outlook does have a center top tether in the 3rd row), LATCH just makes it easier for people to get it right.

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Old 09-24-2006, 10:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

my question is: What were they smoking when they designed the Pontiac Aztek?

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Old 09-24-2006, 11:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eRic 02sc2
my question is: What were they smoking when they designed the Pontiac Aztek?
Or how about what were they smoking when they came up with a name like "Toy"ota or the whole ricer idea?! Must've been crack, LOL. Shame on Honda for existing, LOL.

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Old 09-25-2006, 08:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hedges1
I have one question. It appears as though the 3rd row in the Outlook does not have LATCH anchors for car seats. Is that true? If not, why is that not a feature? Very few cars/suv's with 3 rows offer that feature and it's a shame. It would be very rare to have kids in the third row but it sure would be a nice feature.

I found that one out the hard way last week as I scrambled to get 2 car seats into 3rd row of a Chevy Uplander ......I swore I would NEVER allow ANYONE I knew to buy that vehicle in my lifetime after that..... NEVER!

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Old 09-25-2006, 08:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

The Audi Q7 has Latch in the 3rd row. I figured with the amount of room between the third row and the rear liftgate that it would be easier and safer to do and would really set the Outlook and Acadia apart.

OH WELL.

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Old 09-25-2006, 09:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

O.K Lets see...as far as the question of the third row LATCH anchors, I guess that might have been a purchasing decision to delete it to cut costs. If the primary competitors didn't have it, then the LAMBDA's won't have it.

From what I have heard, the interior materials will be some of the best and most competitive that GM has put into a vehicle. You can already see the changes in the new Saturn Aura. They will be at least as good as that. We primarily benchmarked: Acura MDX, Lexus RX 330, Honda Pilot, Volvo XC90, Nissan Murano, and Infiniti FX45.


As far as the Aztek goes...It was designed a little before my time, but I have some pretty good info on the whole thing. I had heard that the original concepts were very exciting. The vehicle was to be on an all new, truck like, platform. The go ahead was given and then the platform was changed to be this ridiculous mini-van based thing. The top exec's wouldn't kill the program because too much money was already spent. I will say that it's not fair that everyone blames the designers for the Aztek when there were a WHOLE lot of people involved (Engineering, Marketing, Purchasing, Executive board, etc....) Jerry Palmer (former #2 guy under Chuck Jordan and Wayne Cherry) claimed that he would write it all down one day, but I don't think thatís going to happen. By the way, one of the designers who worked on the project is now the V.P. of design for Hyundai and doing VERY well I might add.

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Old 09-25-2006, 09:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

In another thread here somewhere, someone quoted an article stating there WILL BE LATCH anchors in the third row too. If I find it, I will repost.

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Old 09-25-2006, 10:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenSatrun
Latch Easy Answer = government only requires 2 in the 2nd row. Adding more would add cost. I believe I just heard of the first 3 row SUV with 3rd row LATCH (but I forget which one it is).
There's an even easier answer to the LATCH question: practicality. Getting kids in and out of car seats is a pain in the rump. As a parent, having to climb back to the 3rd row of a vehicle to place or extract on a (multiply) daily basis would be sheer torture. We run kid seats 3 wide in the 2nd row of our vehicles and even that's a chore. Can't wait until they're over 8.

BTW, lack of LATCH doesn't mean you can't put a car seat back there. Our cars and car seats are sans-LATCH and work just fine. I believe LATCH is primarily to ease installation of car seats.

The best thing I ever saw, and I can't believe more cars don't offer it, was in a Dodge Caravan rental. The seat backs in the 2nd row folded down to reveal built-in boosters and 3-point harnesses.

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Old 09-25-2006, 11:19 AM   #13
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

I think everyone understands you can still put them back there, but it IS much easier with LATCH. Car seat installs are one thing that has me cussing like a sailor these days.

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Old 09-25-2006, 11:20 AM   #14
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boober
From what I have heard, the interior materials will be some of the best and most competitive that GM has put into a vehicle. You can already see the changes in the new Saturn Aura. They will be at least as good as that. We primarily benchmarked: Acura MDX, Lexus RX 330, Honda Pilot, Volvo XC90, Nissan Murano, and Infiniti FX45.
I hope the interior materials are better than the Aura. Car and Driver reviewed the Aura in the October issue. While they were generally pleased, here is what they had to say about the interior:

"The problem isnít so much with the design, although the Opel interior still strikes us as the better of the two. Rather, itís the build quality: Several parts werenít aligned, the trunk-release button came loose from the door, plastics ranged from good (dash top) to bad (shiny door-panel grab handles with fake stitching), and mold part lines were in evidence. The word flimsy comes to mind." [From http://www.caranddriver.com/shortroa...cs-page2.html].

I am really looking forward to the Outlook, and I hope the interior (and driving dynamics and NVH) do the exterior justice. Does anyone know how the execution of the interior is?

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Old 09-25-2006, 11:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hedges1
I think everyone understands you can still put them back there, but it IS much easier with LATCH. Car seat installs are one thing that has me cussing like a sailor these days.
I guess what I must not understand is either the frequency of installation, or the difficulty of installation.

In my experience with car seats, they stay put for an awfully long time. An infant base is used for about 1 year, a forward facing seat for the next couple years, then a booster until they're 8. I've done it less than 10 times in 7 years. Also, in all cases installation is just fish the belt thru the back and snug it tight.

How are other people using car seats that places such importance on speed of installation?

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Old 09-25-2006, 02:18 PM   #16
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnManiac
Or how about what were they smoking when they came up with a name like "Toy"ota or the whole ricer idea?! Must've been crack, LOL. Shame on Honda for existing, LOL.
Toyota comes from the name of Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of Toyota. and Honda is from Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda. You should thank Honda for kicking GM butt or we might not have had Saturn.

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Old 09-25-2006, 02:22 PM   #17
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eRic 02sc2
Toyota comes from the name of Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of Toyota. and Honda is from Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda. You should thank Honda for kicking GM butt or we might not have had Saturn.
Yes, and there was Henry Ford, and Walter P. Chrysler, the Dodge brothers, Adam Opel, Ponce du Cadillac was the founder of Detroit City, and how could anyone forget Army hero General Motors?

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Old 09-25-2006, 03:15 PM   #18
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

We move carseats in and out of our vehicle constantly, or we are changing the position based on who's in the car or not. We are always carrying lot's of cargo and people and with another kid on the way the times we will be moving things in and out and changing configurations will only go up. If you aren't using Latch then those belts are supposed to be extremely tight which sometimes isn't that easy. There are tensioners available but if you're marketing this vehicle to families then by God give them something a little bit extra that makes some of the headaches go away.

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Old 09-25-2006, 03:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

By the way, this feature is by no means a deal breaker, it's just the one feature that appears to be lacking otherwise it truly would be the vehicle my wife and I would designe for ourselves (within reason). That being said we're looking forward to catching the outlook at the state fair auto show this Sunday. Hopefully we can snag a ton of pics.

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Old 09-25-2006, 03:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: Any questions for a former Outlook (interior) designer?

There was already a dedicated thread on car seats and LATCH points a while ago, which I had replied to because I was going through e-mails and found one from GMC about the Acadia, where one of the bulleted points was "LATCH system that secures up to 5 child seats." Like I said there, we already know there are definitely three in the 2nd row with the bench seat (and of course 2 with the 2nd row captain's chairs--hence, "up to"), so there must be 2 LATCH points in the 3rd row.

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