Hanover, Germany — Auto supplier Continental AG claims it has developed a solution to eliminate the infamous "new car smell."
ContiTech engineers in Zhangjiagang, China, have developed "perfumed Acella" polyurethane foams for use in applications for automotive interiors. The technology involves integrating fragrance into a layer of the standard Acella interior surface material, a company news release said.
The fragrant material was developed following a study from JD Power China that found Chinese customers found the smell of a new car unpleasant. The smell inside a car is the second most important issue for customers after fuel consumption, the study suggested.
"When our customers told us about the complaints from the car buyers, we practically had the solution at hand," said Continental's Cai Dongdan, who was part of the six-person development team for the products. "Following trends on the market, we had done our research already and were able to come up with our Acella interior surface material with scent pretty [quickly]."
The upgraded Acella materials come in scents of oranges, green tea and men's perfume, to create a "second living room" for car users, ContiTech said.
"Vehicle interiors have effects on peoples' senses — the sensation of all the shapes, materials and surfaces makes people want to buy a certain car or not," Cai said. "This also applies to the smell of it."
The fragrance, ContiTech noted, is still slightly perceivable after six to eight months before it completely fades away.
Interior air quality has been regulated in China since 2012, with limits on volatile organic compounds.
Acella, according to ContiTech, is free of stabilizers containing heavy metals and has passed the VOC test in China.