Hold on to Your Cup! These Customer Findings Drove the Refreshed Cupholder Design for the New Ford Fusion

  • Cupholders – a seemingly small convenience with a big impact – have
    been moved forward, rotated and redesigned for the new 2017 Ford Fusion
  • Ford research, including a new Nielsen survey, took the automaker
    around the globe in search of what customers want and need from their
  • Insights about beverage containers, customers and cupholder design
    show people use cupholders not only for bottles and cups of varying
    shapes and sizes, but also mobile devices and loose change; insights
    helped Ford refine cupholders in the new Fusion

DEARBORN, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–At Ford, every detail matters, and customer experiences matter most.

That’s why, in designing the new 2017 Ford Fusion, the automaker set out
in search of what makes cupholders – a seemingly small convenience – so
important to customers. In the end, customer feedback drove substantial
changes to the refreshed Fusion console design, including a new take on
the common cupholder that customers will surely appreciate.

The replacement of the traditional shifter with a rotary gear shift dial
freed space for two newly designed cupholders – both with available
ambient lighting. The new cupholders are now one in front of the other,
with the front cupholder 6 inches forward from their location on the
2016 Fusion. It’s a small move with big effects, allowing Ford to extend
the armrest by nearly 3 inches and to expand the armrest bin by an extra
half-gallon, comparable to your average 2-liter soda bottle or four
16.9-ounce water bottles. For even more storage, a pocket added to the
front console is a perfect spot for a wallet and various other items.

“Being dissatisfied with your cupholders may be a minor annoyance, but
it’s a daily one, which over time detracts from the overall car
experience,” said Jolanta Coffey, Ford instrument panel and console
manager. “On the other hand, when you like your cupholders, they can
make your vehicle feel like home. For Fusion, we set out to develop a
beautiful interior, paying attention to the details that make people
fall in love and stay in love with their car.”

Research reveals the following cupholder facts:

  1. Bottles win big
    In the U.S., people say drinks in bottles
    reign supreme. According to a new Nielsen survey, 79 percent of
    Americans say they use cupholders for bottles. A majority of people –
    52 percent – say they typically use cupholders to carry cups of coffee
    and tea. Ford research also found North American customers use large
    soft-drink cups more than other parts of the world, and they’re much
    likelier to drink on the go. In Asia, people tend to bring wide tea
    bottles into the vehicle.
  2. Putting satisfaction within reach – literally
    value cupholders that are within effortless reach. That’s easier said
    than done – given the range of possible arm lengths and seat
    positions. For the new Fusion, Ford studied driver ergonomics to
    balance the needs of as many drivers as possible. By moving the
    cupholders, designers ensured Fusion cupholders are an easy reach for
    at least 95 percent of the population.
  3. Holding more than cups*
    Among non-beverage items placed
    in cupholders, phones by far are the most common. Roughly half say
    they use their cupholder to store their mobile device, followed by 28
    percent who use it for loose change. Food is placed in cupholders by
    19 percent of respondents, while 14 percent use it for gum or mints,
    and 12 percent for wallets. Millennials and teens are much more likely
    than their elders to use cupholders for non-beverage items. Gender
    plays a role as well. Men are more likely to use cupholders to store
    their wallet and change, while women tend to use cupholders
  4. Get a grip
    A great cupholder is roomy enough for an
    extra-large container, yet capable of holding a skinny one without it
    tipping over. Ford again did its homework, for the first time using
    its tactical robot arm RUTH
    to verify the Fusion cupholders, as well as the spring-loaded
    resistance grips within them, meet customer preferences for resistance
    and feel. RUTH measured things like how much effort it takes to insert
    a bottle and how much tension the grips exert as a cup is being pushed
  5. The three cups
    Cupholders must be deep enough to hold
    taller containers, but shallow enough that you can easily pluck out a
    small cup. Ford found most cups fall between three basic scenarios:
    your average half-liter recyclable water bottle, the 20-ounce plastic
    bottle typically used for juices and sports drinks, and the 30-ounce
    soft-drink cup found at many fast-food restaurants. If a cupholder can
    help hold all three, it can likely hold most any cup.

In total, the 2017 Ford Fusion has up to six cupholders in the console,
front door pockets and rear center armrest. Regardless of region and
what drivers may store in their vehicle’s cupholders, they are in
constant use – and therefore an important aspect of interior design at

About Ford Motor Company

Motor Company
is a global automotive and mobility company
based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 199,000 employees and 67 plants
worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing,
manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford
cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury
vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging
opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a
leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer
experience, and data and analytics. For more information regarding Ford,
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Ford Motor Company
Deeptie Sethi