Ford Faces Unexpected Challenge of the Global Market: New Car Smell

Most La Follette, TN drivers love that fresh-from-the-factory smell of a pristine new Ford. Many Americans even go so far as to buy "new car" scented air fresheners for their older models.

America's obsession with new-car smell is not shared by the rest of the world, however, which presents a unique challenge to an automaker like Ford selling cars all over the globe.

In China in particular, drivers cite car odors as a bigger concern than engine problems! Ford employs smell-testers for their American and European markets, making sure the new-car smell will be a pleasant one. In China, Ford's smell-testers conduct over 300 tests every year to ensure their new cars smell like nothing at all.

Even the way car materials are shipped to the factory differs in response to the global market. In America, seats are shipped in airtight plastic wrap to seal in the leathery scent. In China, the seats are stored in breathable cloth bags, so smell is minimized by the time they are installed.

It may sound a little crazy, but there is a good reason behind our two countries' differing tastes. In Tennessee, we're accustomed to big forests, small farms, and fresh country air, so chemical fragrances are a treat in moderation. China has experienced devastating levels of air pollution from rapidly-growing industry, so anything that smells bad is seen as a potential health risk.

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