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Honda’s Dog-Friendly Element Available Next Month

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Honda’s first stateside attempt at attracting car-shopping dog lovers in one fell swoop is a month from being unleashed.

American Honda Motor Co. Inc. said Monday that its dog-accommodating Element is set to be available Nov. 16, about a month after the light truck’s 2010 model begins arriving at dealerships. Features on the dog-friendly model include a cushioned cargo bed area with safety restraints, second-row pet seating with restraints, a spill-resistant water bowl, special ventilation fans, bone and paw print-patterned floor mats and a retractable ramp to help animals get in and out of the vehicle.

Honda executives have said that if a buyer wants to buy the options, they will be added to the truck at dealerships, not on the production line.

The sticker price for the dog-friendly equipment is $995, Honda said. Next year’s model of the Element, which is assembled in East Liberty, starts at $20,525.

The effort to provide canine-friendly upgrades to the Element started in 2005 in Japan with the Wow, a wagon aimed at dog owners. In the United States, the Element previously was recognized as the Dog Car of the Year by Dogcars.com, which reviews vehicles and travel products for canines.

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