Why Don't Cars Come with Ashtrays Anymore?

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The other night, I was having a heated discussion with an acquaintance, who happens to be a smoker. I argued that I didn't mind if he smoked in his car, but I did mind if he held the cigarette out the window, and flicked the ashes in the wind, which sometimes wind up in my car at red lights, and such. I also don't like when smokers flick the butts out the windows into the streets. During the summer, many of our big Los Angeles wildfires start this way and there are other, less direct environmental issues, as well. We went on arguing for about 5 minutes when suddenly he said: "So what would you like me to do with the ash and butt? Cars don't come with ashtrays anymore!" Holy, er, smokes! He had me there! I hadn't even noticed.

Sure, you can get a smoker's package, which is an ash tray that fits in a cup holder. But auto manufacturers haven't included them as standard for quite some time, depending on make and model. I remember, growing up, when there were even ashtrays in the back seats (for the kids?! ;-). Then, during the 80s and 90s, those disappeared. But you still had the main one in the front, where many of us just kept spare change or gum.

So why have car manufacturers done away with them altogether? Well the answer seems to vary, depending on who you ask. Critics say the auto companies are just trying to save money on extra parts. A fellow I spoke to at one auto manufacturer, who asked to remain anonymous, said it's more about subtle behavior modification. If there are no ashtrays in the car, maybe you’ll give up that filthy habit? Smoking isn't cool anymore, so what car manufacturer wants to associate with something that isn't popular when they're already having a hard enough time selling cars, right?

What do you all think? Anyone have a recent-ish model that DOES have an ashtray? Tell us about it in the comments below!

April 4, 2012 - 2:28pm
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