Suzukiâ€™s new light motor vehicle â€œAlto Lapinâ€, unveiled on June 3, comes equipped with a square cup holder on the driverâ€™s side thatâ€™s big enough to hold a 500 ml carton.
500 ml drink packs may not exactly sound like what women in their 20s and 30s, the intended targets for this car, are looking for. But according to chief engineer Yasuhiro Kawamura, â€œWe incorporated the opinions that we received from our female staff who had been involved in the development.â€
â€œI always thought that 500 ml carton beverages were for middle-aged men. But after our female staff brought us data and pictures, we realized that to our surprise, female consumers are also buying 500 ml carton beverages,â€ Kawamura said.
â€œIt isnâ€™t because women like to drink straight out of a paper container. Some milk-based beverages only come in 500 ml paper packs, straws can be inserted directly, and mothers can pour individual servings for their children. Thatâ€™s why they often choose beverages that are sold in paper packs.â€
The chief engineer said he had gone on to seek the opinions of female users and also conducted fixed-point observations, which convinced him that square slots would be a good idea. â€œWe used to just assume that round cup holders would be sufficient. There were also opinions that drinks that came in small cans would make rattling noises if they were placed in square slots, but in the end we decided to go with what the women said and made these square.â€
The passenger side of the Alto Lapin also has a square cup holder, but this one isnâ€™t meant for 500 ml paper cartons. By designing this as a pull-out drawer type of drink holder that can be tucked away when it isnâ€™t in use, the carmaker has shown its consideration to offer smart, convenient storage.
(Translated by Eriko Sugita)