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"Nose Teams" at Work

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Is the distinctive new car smell manufactured? In the Model T days, new automobile smells probably weren't engineered. Now, carmakers have fragrance chemists responsible for creating a car's signature fragrance. (No wonder new cars are so expensive!)

These scientists, sometimes called "car sommeliers." are like any other team of auto engineers. They design, they create, they test. It's a complex process.

"The Audi Nose team analyzes more than 500 different components from the interior of each model separately, as well as the scent of the complete car."

Sometimes, Auto manufacturers change the fragrance for a different country. According to Ford, Chinese auto buyers are not looking for a "new car smell" but a "new car lack of smell." Because of this, Ford takes special care to make sure cars built for China don't have any scent at all.

When you smell a new car, what specifically are you smelling? Fiat Head Materials Engineer Larry Sak explains it this way:

"The primary cause of the new-car smell, when you hear that term, is an off-gassing of organic compounds in the interior of the vehicle. Those compounds have a low boiling point, so they release molecules into the air and that's how the smell gets present.

The Volvo fragrance designers are striving for understatement. They heat up car materials samples for 24 hours. Then they rate the fragrances from 1 to 6—1 is defined as "noticeable" and 6 is defined as "unbearable."

Volvo's Hanna Sundqvist:

"We try to reduce odor. We tolerate a certain level of odor as long as it is perceived as pleasant—an odor that we like to have in our new cars.

Bentley takes a different approach. The British luxury brand sells a line of men's fragrances based on the signature scents of various Bentley models.

Here is a description from the Bentley Motors website:

"Capturing the legendary luxury and extraordinary performance of Bentley’s Bentayga luxury SUV, Infinite Rush embodies the spirit of the modern adventurer Freshness from the top notes of pink peppercorns and mandarin evokes a rush of adrenaline, followed by a cocktail of spices, incense and lemon and stirring woody base notes of amber, vetiver and cedar."

If you will never be able to afford a 250k car—it's nice to know that you can smell like one. That's just as good, right?

At I-86 Truck & Auto Repair, we might not be able to make your car smell like new—but we can definitely make it run like new. Trust our team of automotive experts for all of your car service needs.