AZUTO specializes in creating high-quality products designed specifically for Mercedes G-Class. The Japan-based company’s products are carefully crafted to work and appear as genuine accessories for vehicles bearing the three-pointed star logo.
G-Class offers great utility as a vehicle but it could also use more cup holders. AZUTO cup holder is designed specifically for the G-Class to match the design of the interior. Unlike generic cup holders, it uses an installation kit to ensure a perfect fit and attaches flush against the vent.
We had a chance to interview Akihiko Manaka who is a senior manager for the company’s product development department and asked him about how the product was developed.
What do you do for the company?
I am responsible for planning and designing new products for the AZUTO brand.
How did this product come to be?
When we were initially planning products for the AZUTO brand, we looked at various cars from different high-end manufacturers. When we looked at the Mercedes G-Class (W463), we noticed that it did not have a cup holder and the optional accessory wasn’t designed very well. Also, the Mercedes G-Class was gaining popularity at the time and we also noticed that many G-Class customers liked to customize their cars to their likings. These were the factors that persuaded us to build a dedicated cup holder for the G-Class.
Your cup holder incorporates a unique design for securing it to the vent. Tell me how that works.
Initially, we looked at the AC vent, near the screen, and near the grip handle as possible locations for placing the cup holder. We decided on the AC vent because we already had experience designing other cup holders that attach to the AC vent. However, it was challenging to design a cup holder for the G-Class because it has vents with a unique slant design which makes it difficult to secure the cup holder. We came up with an idea to use a metallic hook to secure the cup holder to the vent so that it does not move around. We also made sure that the attachment is easy even though we use multiple components to ensure a perfect fit. As a result, we created a cup holder that attached securely to the G-Class AC vent.
What makes your cup holder different from other generic cup holders that are out there?
We wanted to make sure that the cup holder looks like it was designed by Mercedes for the G-Class. As you will notice, the design of the cup holder perfectly matches the decor of the G-Class’s interior. Many people think that it looks like a genuine factory accessory when they see our cup holder.
Also, our cup holder is designed to use the cold and warm air from the vent to keep the drink cold or warm for as long as possible. We were the first to introduce this design in Japan and we have been selling cup holders with this design for over 30 years.
Lastly, do you have any plans to improve the cup holder in the future?
We have introduced a different cup holder for the new G-Class (W463A). Top finish of the cup holder matches the texture of the hairline aluminum finish around the air conditioner, and the rest of the cup holder is painted to match the interior of the vehicle.
We are also considering introducing different variations of the cup holder using different materials like carbon fiber. We think a carbon fiber finish will go well with the interior of AMG models.