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Re: OT - New Saturn Ion = CJ wanna be
It is a lot easier to make right or left hand drive cars...(my Pops works for Saturn)
However, when the Echo first came out, the reasoning Toyota gave is that they "measured" the time it takes to look down at normal gauges, and found that your eyes are supposedly off the road less by looking across at the center cluster.
It's the classic "solution to a problem I didn't know I had."
One of the car mags (Car and Driver, perhaps?) said it may take less time once you get used to it, but they kept looking down, then cursing because the gauges weren't there.
And yes, they are ugly. Get used to it, though, because it's the "Delta" platform, which means the Ion will also be a Chevy/Pontiac/Buick/etc once Generous Motors tools up to make em. They'll also have the EcoTec 4-banger, which means Saturn is demoted to an assembly plant and not a manufacturer.
One more thing which might spark more discussion... The Ion will be equipped with "interior accent panels", which means you can drive to your local dealer and have new colored interior trim installed to match your shoes or whatever. What do you want to bet that there will be some sort of a "leopard print" trim?
This from the folks who brought you the Aztek and the Avalanche...Body cladding, anyone?