Ford Aims to Deodorize New-Car Smell in China

November 20, 2018 at 2:24 PM

Ford Motor Co. has filed a U.S. patent application for a process that is said to help get rid of the so-called new-car smell in vehicles.

Although the scent may be considered pleasing to many car buyers in the U.S. and other markets, such smells are offensive to some consumers. This is especially true in China, where recent studies have found the odor to be a top concern among motorists, Reuters reports.

The new car smell is generated from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from such interior components as leather, plastic and vinyl. Adhesives, sealants and glass cleaners also may contribute.

The smell lessens over time as the gases dissipate, a process that is accelerated in hot weather. Ford’s patent involves a system that would capitalize on that phenomenon by enabling semi-autonomous vehicles that aren’t in use to drive to areas where they can park in the sun with the windows partially opened and perhaps with the engine and/or heater turned on.

Ford also is working to reduce odors at the source. A team of 18 assessors at the company’s research facility in Nanjing rate the smell of different materials before they are approved for use in a vehicle to minimize unpleasant smells.