Most of us love that new-car smell, the aroma of fresh upholstery and carpeting. Plenty of us try to recapture it through the application of or other scent-dispersal methods, trying to evoke that fresh-from-the-factory aroma in our used vehicles.
But as it turns out, not everybody appreciates that brand-new scent. In particular, new-car buyers in China have a major aversion to the aroma of a freshly-assembled vehicle. More than 10 percent of drivers complained about the odor of their brand-new cars, the most frequent complaint of all, .
So Ford is setting out to create technology that will eradicate that new-car smell, hoping to eliminate this complaint among Chinese customers. Yes, you read that right: A maker of brand-new cars is looking for ways to air out that signature new-car smell, .
Last year, Ford created a team of 18 people with highly sensitive noses to identify the offending scents in new cars and help find ways to eliminate them. These "Golden Noses" sniff every component of a car's interior, rejecting those that might be deemed unfavorable to Chinese buyers.
Now, Ford has gone to the next step, applying to patent a new technology that will bake off and air out the offending aromas—most of which stem from volatile organic compounds emitted by upholstery, plastics, or the sound deadening or adhesive materials involved in constructing a car's interior.
, Ford's method involves parking the car in sunlight, cracking the windows, and, if needed, starting the engine and running the heater fan to help warm the interior and blow off the aroma, all of which would be handled autonomously by the vehicle before it was delivered to the customer.
This is, of course, still experimental—the newspaper points out that the technology is intended for semi-autonomous future vehicles, not today's conventional models. A spokesperson from the automaker told the newspaper that it has no specific plans to incorporate this tech into production vehicles at this time.
Still, the next time you're at the dealership, soaking in the aroma of a brand-new car, remember that, in the world's largest car market, such a scent is considered offensive.