Honda is trying to clean up the mess inside your car

A new book about a road trip gives automakers insight on where all the garbage goes.

Kelley Styring

Anyone who has ever been on a road trip knows how hard long hours on the road can be on a car, especially the interior. Road trips for me generally include one dropped/knocked-over/exploded beverage, fast food droppings, wrappers, and complimentary toys and and other bits of consumables ground into the car's interior.

A new publication "In Your Car: Road Trip through the American Automobile," chronicles market researcher Kelley Styring's 30-day, 5,800-mile cross-country research study of American drivers and their messes.

Styring, who wrote "In Your Purse: Archaeology of the American Handbag," took her family on a road trip in 2008 in a new Honda Pilot. Honda has already incorporated some of the insight from Styring's report to keep future road-trippers happier, and the interior of their vehicles cleaner.

"The 2011 Honda Odyssey addresses many of the issues and insights I found," said Styring in a press release. "My study shows that cars lack integrated trash management systems, so it ends up all over the car. Cup holders have become the place drivers store change, cell phones, iPods, keys, and other small items because there isn't anywhere else for them. And drivers desperately need a cool spot to store items like medicines or cosmetics that are damaged in high temperatures."

For the new Odyssey, Honda designers created a "trash ring," a plastic loop that flips up from the rear of the front center console and creates a frame for a typical plastic shopping bag; more storage bins for small items, including a media shelf for iPods and cell phones; and a refrigerated bin.

"Honda is known throughout the industry for their focus on identifying and responding to consumer needs, the quality of their research, and their commitment to making superior vehicles," Styring said.

During her research, Styring also unearthed some rather unusual items lurking in vehicles, including a single push-up bra insert, an unused catheter bag, and a tree growing out of the debris in a pick-up bed.

"In Your Car: Road Trip through the American Automobile" is available at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com for about $26.

 

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