Car Customers are Falling in Love with Cup Holders

There is a new demand for an interesting aspect of cars in the US, cup holders. Bigger and more cup holders is the trend stated in a Wall Street Journal article written by Chester Dawson. International car manufacturers are adjusting to the soft drinks served in massive cups at places like McDonald’s and 7-Eleven. “Success in the U.S. car market depends on satisfying consumers’ exacting demands. Right now, few things are more in demand than cup holders — lots of them, big ones, in many shapes and sizes,” said Dawson.

In Japan, Subaru Corp. is leading the pack with 19 cup holders in its Ascent SUV. The vehicle only seats eight, which means there are over two cup holders per person when the max capacity of the SUV is satisfied. One Indiana mother of four, Christa Ellis, said “she cares less about engine displacement than cup holders.” As the demand for them increase, so does the technology associated with assembling a cup holder. Cup holders are becoming more versatile as customers are using them for more than just cups, and companies like Ford are applying for patents to make the cup holder more stable when cars are travelling on inclines and declines. Some of the newer cars have cup holders with LED lights, and warming and chilling capabilities.

Luxury vehicles created in countries like Germany were late adopters to installing cup holders in its cars. Drinking in cars during the ‘90s had low class appeal. Car enthusiasts who bought luxurious cars frowned upon in car beverage consumption.  “’For years, Mercedes was convinced we should teach Americans to drink their coffee at home,’ says Daimler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche. ‘Obviously, that didn’t work out so well.’” Now, in the new Urus SUV, Lamborghini introduced its first car with multiple cup holders.

Process capability is the ability of the process to meet the design specifications for a service or product. With the increasing demand for cup holders, Lamborghini and Subaru Corp. alike are adapting to the process to meet the design specifications of a product. All car companies are enhancing the design specifications to please American customers. Fiat Chrysler cars have a model for both a small sized coffee cup in emerging marketing and a cup holder fit to hold a 32 once Burger King soft drink in North America. Car companies are also changing their designs to fit self-driving cars. “Industry officials say the move toward self-driving cars will further the need for more places to store cups and objects like smartphones and tablets, as commuters have more time to sit back and enjoy the ride.”

 

While reading this article, I thought of a few questions. Are international luxury car companies, like Lamborghini, going to be forced to change its car designs to expand its market share in the US where the demand for new, bigger, and more cup holders is increasing? How many cup holders is too many? What affect did fast food restaurants and convenience stores have on the increasing demand for cup holders?

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One thought on “Car Customers are Falling in Love with Cup Holders

  • February 21, 2018 at 5:13 pm
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    I think perhaps the most interesting quote from this post is about what Mercedes attempted to do when it came to cup holders. Their idea that “Mercedes was convinced [they] should teach Americans to drink their coffee at home” seems like quite a poor marketing strategy. However, to connect it to operations I think this idea of changing consumer’s minds would relate to the four competitive priorities. When attempting to increase demand for a product there are really two main approaches that companies take. They either follow demand, or they try to generate it themselves. If a company follows demand, then it finds demand for a product in the market and attempts to create a product that satisfies this. The competitive priorities for something like this would often be quality, flexibility, or time. The other way to generate demand is to create a product that consumers didn’t know they wanted and advertise heavily to create a new demand. Often the competitive priorities for products like this would be cost or quality to draw in new demand. In this situation though, the only logical choice for Mercedes would be to add more cup holders. As demand grows for cup holders it does not make sense not to follow a growing demand if the company has the capacity to do so. Quality increases in the eyes of the consumer if there are more cup holders, and there is little benefit or increase in quality when cup holders do not exist. Following demand is extremely important once a product is established. If a company keeps up with demands they may then be able to even control future demands with new innovations. It seems like Mercedes has now begun to accept the new demands which is a positive start.

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