Marketing

America’s cupholder war, meet America’s soft drink war.

Ford Motor Co. enlisted Dr Pepper to highlight the 15 cupholders in its Expedition SUV by creating a limited-edition 15-pack of cans. It planned to give away boxes Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Texas-Oklahoma college football game in Dallas.

“We’re solving one of Expedition’s last unsolved big customer needs — what to do with 15 cupholders,” Adam Longarzo, the Expedition’s consumer marketing manager, said in a statement that raised more questions here at Automotive News than it answered.

Of course, despite Ford’s claim that it “has yet to find drinks packaged with enough cans to fill [the Expedition’s] wells,” plenty of soft drinks and beers are sold as 24-packs, and several beers still come in 15-packs today (not that we recommend them for demonstrating cupholder capacity).

We also were curious how Dr Pepper packaged an odd number of cans in a box no taller than a standard 12-pack. Fortunately, Ford sent one to our office, and we opened it to find a very unrefreshing piece of cardboard and plastic filling the space for would-be can No. 16.

We’ll concede that 15 cupholders is a lot — and caution that bringing 180 ounces of Dr Pepper along on your next road trip is a recipe for more frequent bathroom breaks — but note that there are some vehicles out there with more. Car and Driver identified three last year: the Honda Pilot with 16, the Volkswagen Atlas with 17 and the Subaru Ascent with an unprecedented 19.

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