One of the most satisfying experiences in life is driving off the lot with a brand new car and taking in the new car smell. I’ve been blessed enough to have taken in the new car smell a few times, but not everyone loves that new car smell
I think the majority of the American market has an affinity for that special smell, but consumers in other countries do not. Consumers in China, for example, say they hate the smell. So Ford has filed a patent application for a new odor-removal process that can be applied after the car has been purchased.
“Unpleasant interior smell/odor remains the top industry problem in that market,” said Brent Gruber, senior director, global automotive, at J.D. Power. “To put that in context, it is nearly double the problem rate of the second most prevalent problem, excessive fuel consumption.”
Feedback from Chinese customers seems to indicate that more than 10% of them would rather not have the smell. According to the Detroit Free Press, China is the largest car market in the world and that’s why Ford is working on a fix.
Ford made headlines in July 2017 for “counting on a team of recruits to its Chinese research labs … 18 smell testers, or so-called ‘Golden Noses,’ charged with making sure new cars don’t smell bad,” Quartz media said. “That’s because Chinese car buyers are particularly sensitive to the smell of their new cars. They place unpleasant smells ahead of engine performance or safety as their top reason for not buying a new car.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, the new car smell is caused by the compounds in the leather, plastics, and other parts baking in the sun. These compounds will eventually bake away and the smell will gradually dissipate. The Ford method would do something similar. Basically, it would bake the car to release those compounds, accelerating the process. So, I guess if you want to keep that smell for longer, just keep your car in cooler areas.
Source: Detroit Free Press
“While ‘new car smell’ is ingrained in American culture, we know Chinese customers dislike that scent. This patent is the result of years of research and is just one idea we are considering for future use,” said Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader in materials sustainability at Ford.