That “new car smell” can be pretty divisive. Some of us love it, yet the rest absolutely can’t stand it.
In China, it seems the majority hate it. And the fast-growing market is so valuable that Ford is going out of its way to get rid of the new car smell, so people don’t get turned off.
A lot of a new car’s smell comes from new fabrics and materials on steering wheels and seats. So instead of wrapping seats in plastic, as they do in many overseas markets, the car seats in China are stored in cloth bags to ventilate them before they get put in a new Ford.
China’s distaste for chemical smells comes from a society that has grown paranoid about its perennial air pollution, a local parts manufacturer was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Don Yu, China general manager at CGT Automotive, which supplies car interior material to many large makers, said: “In China, people open the car and sit inside. If the smell isn’t good enough, they think it will jeopardise their health.”
But while the Chinese hate the new car smell, plenty of other people love it.
Ford Spain figured out how to bottle that new odour for used cars, to persuade people to buy them.
Who knows, there may be an opportunity in the Chinese market for these products to go in and provide a new car smell for the minority that still craves it.