Honda is canine-conscious and they’re proving it with a new dog-friendly car that has mutts drooling and wagging their tails worldwide.
The Japanese automaker exhibited a "Dog Friendly" version of the Honda Element SUV at the New York International Auto Show. The concept features a cushioned pet bed with safety restraints in the cargo area, a spill-resistant water bowl, and even a ventilation fan to keep canines comfortable. A folding ramp gives animals an easy way to get in and out.
In the back seat, there's an integrated pet carrier and machine-washable seat covers to make it convenient and safe to carry smaller pets. The rubber floor mats feature a toy-bone pattern, and paw-print emblems on the side and back of the vehicle draw attention to its pet-friendly status.
As a dog owner, I applaud the new vehicle designed with pets in mind. It’s a sage move by Honda, because dog owners are loyal-- just like their pooches--so if they like this car, they’ll undoubtedly become ambassadors for the vehicle. Nothing sells like word-of-mouth and dog people talk.
Honda says it's still finalizing the features, but the Dog Friendly Element will be available this fall.
"Pets have become more like family, more important to households than ever before," said James Jenkins, a senior product planner for Honda. "We felt this was the perfect vehicle to offer such dog-friendly features."
The Element already is appealing to pet owners because of features such as its easy-to-clean flooring in the cargo area and its wide doors.
Honda showed an interest in pets through the "Wonderful Openhearted Wagon" concept the company unveiled in 2005. That demonstration model included pet-friendly materials, a place for small animals to ride right up front, and a larger pet carrier that popped up from the floor in the back seat. Pet owners quickly started clamoring for Honda to put the features into production, Jenkins said.