Ford is getting rid of the new car smell for China
Car manufacturers often modify their new cars for different markets to comply with laws or serve varying customer tastes. But Ford is apparently considering a unique change to cars intended for the Chinese market by removing the “new car smell”.
If you’ve ever sat in a new car, you know exactly what new car smell is and is loved by all other than the people in China. More than 10% of drivers in China complain about this new car smell, which apparently makes it a “top industry problem”.
If you think that 10% of the Chinese population isn’t much, remember that China is the world’s most populated country. This means that 149 million people are not happy with this smell. That’s the same amount of people who live in both France and Germany combined.
Brent Gruber, who is a senior director at J.D. Power in America, told the Detroit Free Press; “To put that in context, it is nearly double the problem rate of the second most prevalent problem, excessive fuel consumption.”
Ford explained its solution for this issue in a recent patent application. At the root of this problem, the source of “new car smell” has to do with the heating of materials like wood and leather. Ford’s solution is to speed up that process.
The patent application describes semi-autonomous or fully autonomous cars driving themselves to a nice, sunny location, parking itself, turning on the heater, slightly opening the windows, and intermittently running the engine. In this scenario, the vehicle “bakes” away from the “new car smell”.
The patent application is “just one idea” Ford is considering, Debbie Mielewski, the company’s senior technical leader for materials sustainability, told the Free Press; “there are no concrete plans to put it into production if the patent is even ever granted”, she says. This is a weird and quite frankly, a ridiculous patent submission.
Despite all this, Ford has experienced an awful time, recently in China. Their sales figures have dropped over the last two years, apparently because Ford insisted on controlling everything there instead of relying on local expertise. Ford recently relented and hired a long time Chinese automotive executive to run the company’s Chinese operations.