Report: Drivers Prefer to Keep Sunglasses Close, Smart Phones Safe


Today’s drivers want easy access to their belongings, but especially their sunglasses, says a new report by Johnson Controls, a Tier 1 automotive supplier with extensive facilities in Plymouth Township and Holland.

Stuff in Cars, which surveyed nearly 2,000 drivers about how they store various items in their vehicle, found that sunglasses ranked as the most important item to stow in a location that is easily accessible while driving. While smart phone storage ranked at No. 2, consumers seemed to prefer storage that offered containment of the phone over accessibility while driving.

“From the study, we’re able to gain a better global understanding of the hierarchy of needs of stuff in cars,” says Renae Pippel, director of strategic research for Johnson Controls Automotive Interiors. “This end consumer insight helps make us smarter as we design global solutions for our customers.”

While there were many similarities between the countries surveyed, some items trended only in one region. For example, garage door openers appeared only in the top 10 list for the United States, eyeglass cases appeared only in the European top 10, and an emergency hammer for escaping a vehicle in case of an accident appeared only in China’s list.

There were also differences in preference among the different vehicle segments. Luxury segment owners placed the greatest importance on storage that is designed for a specific item, with special emphasis placed on dedicated solutions for smart phones and electronic devices. The data also showed that van owners agree that they can never have enough storage options in their vehicle.

Globally, consumers still place a higher importance on the ability to store books and travel guides than e-readers and tablets. However, considering the growth projections for tablet use, Johnson Controls expects to see the variance between storage needs for books and travel guides steadily shrinking in the next few years.   

The study follows Johnson Controls’ announcement in May that it is forming a joint venture devoted to automotive interiors with Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems Co.

The transaction is expected to close by mid-2015.