Honda outfits an SUV for dogs

San Antonio Express-NewsJune 23, 2009 

Honda is rolling out a dog-friendly Element this fall to expand the reach of its boxy four-passenger SUV.

With a cushioned pet bed on an elevated platform, pet-restraint systems for both the cargo area and the second row of seating, and a ramp that allows dogs to enter and exit without jumping, Honda hopes to tap into consumer demand for doggie gear. People spent $43 billion on pet-related products and services last year.

Other features likely to be installed on the 2010 model include a rear ventilation fan, second-row seat, rubber mats with a toy bone pattern and a spill-resistant water bowl.

"In an interesting turn of events, cars are now chasing dogs," American Honda Motor Co. Executive Vice President John Mendel said during the New York introduction.

No prices have been announced yet for the Element's dog-friendly accessories. As for the Element itself, 2009 prices began at $20,275.

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