Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pet My Ride

So I'm picking my friend Roben's brain, asking him what he really wants in a car, and we start talking about his pets. He's got 2 sizeable dogs, and is desperate for a vehicle with which to transport them. The amazing part is that there are so few options available for such a task. He previously had an F-150 pickup with a bed cap, but gas ain't cheap. He also had climate control issues...imagine driving through Arizona with your dogs in the back, the cap acting as a convection oven.

Which begs the question, why is it so hard to find a vehicle that can accomodate pets? Really all that's needed is the simple ability to create a flat, covered, stain resistant surface. Sure, the Honda Element's great, but that only covers a fraction of the market. Why aren't there more vehicles with plastic/rubber/vinyl-covered seatbacks and trunk surfaces, especially 2-box vehicles like SUVs?

The Lincoln Blackwood (a rebadged F-150) was a complete failure. One of the major reasons for this was its carpet-lined bed. If pickups demand weatherproof cargo storage, why can't that apply to more domesticated vehicles? Surely this extends beyond pet owners. Most of us have felt the need to throw messy stuff in the back (cleats, wet umbrellas, beach towels, etc.). Our cargo does not demand the luxury of a carpeted resting place.

Perhaps there's an issue of sound deadening. There must be a way around this, as SUTs, such as Chevy Avalanche, have non-carpeted cargo areas without many complaints of an echo-chamber effect.
One suggestion รก la Roben is the Pet Package. Maybe weatherproofing could be an option, with the addition of a gate installed over the seats to divide the cabin between human and pet space. Roben also would love a built-in, spill-proof doggy dish holder, but I told him that's a bit much to ask for. Pet owners could well represent a serious untapped market segment, and the auto industry is always looking for unique ways to meet customer needs...and wouldn't it be fun to walk into a dealer and say, "I'd like my new Ford Edge 'doggy style'"?

12 comments:

Kevin said...

So I've happened upon your blog and read past posts (happened upon it because I wanted to create a blog called autosnob and there already was one, so I needed to check it out).

So what did your friend end up getting? Would something like an Audi, VW, or Volvo wagon with plastic cargo liner and net or metal barrier work for the dogs? Or are they bigger than that?

You'll likely get some more comments from me as I continue to "waste" my billable hours reading your old posts...

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