The 'new car smell' is a little too intoxicating for Chinese drivers, so Ford is deploying a team of expert sniffers to help get rid of the distinct odour. Joel Labi reports.
BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~NONE** Broadcasters: Digital: NONE**~ Get a whiff of this! Ford is looking to do away with the 'new car smell,' at least in Asia. It may be an intoxicating scent to many westerners, but most Chinese drivers can't stand it. The U.S. car giant now has 18 smell assessors, known as "golden noses", at its research center in the city of Nanjing Their job is to sniff out what local customers do and don't like in a fabric scent. The reason: people in China are becoming very wary of chemical smells, especially because of pollution levels. Studies also show, 'new car small' is one of the top issues for potential buyers. China is the world's biggest auto market and Ford sales there are down 7% this year. These experts smellers carry out hundreds of tests designed to help the company boost sales, picking up scents from "burnt tire" to "moth balls" on some of the more pungent materials, like steering wheels and seat covers. Of course, there are other factors beyond smell that carmakers are tweaking to make sure they get it right in China. But in a competitive market where the economy's slowing, Ford hopes its sniffer squad can help put the company's nose ahead of its rivals.