Today's Hottest Automotive Feature: Ideal Cup Holder?

Compiled By Deborah Austin Who knew U.S. car shoppers felt so deeply about cup holders? In a recent online survey by Internet automotive marketing services company Autobytel Inc., 27% of respondents said they would willingly seek a different auto make or model to attain the perfect cup holder. Another 24% would pay $80 extra. Such comforts have gained stature in Americans' ever-more-mobile lives, with cars becoming consumers' "dorm rooms on wheels," says Steve Rotterdam, chief creative officer for marketing/promotions firm EastWest Creative, New York. While exterior design may express self-image, "it's the inside where you as the consumer really live. Progressive marketers [and manufacturers] are seeing that," he notes. Cup holders may be mutating into a daily necessity: Seventy percent of Autobytel's survey respondents said they use them at least two to four times weekly, and 46% said they use them "pretty much every day." But "use" may entail more than a java or Big Gulp. Sixty-seven percent of respondents are concerned about safety ramifications of dining on "cup holder foods" while driving. And 75% stash their cell phones in cup holders.

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