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China doesn’t possess the exact same affinity for the iconic “new car smell” that remains popular in North America. The odor, a conglomeration of industrial glue fumes and also the off-gassing of plastics, is   poisonous air pollution trapped within the car’s cabin. Western drivers have made it synonymous of having a vehicle, with the pleasantries, while motorists have not.

This brings up an extremely important question. Are they individuals?

While it would be quite user friendly this single example to conclude that China is a perverse and disturbed nation, Westerners subjected to the volatile compounds of a new car’s interior on a particularly hot day might agree that the smell, in heavy doses, occasionally leaves something to be desired. The odor should bring a tear to the eye due to pride or nostalgia, not because it’s hoping to flush the vapors emitted by vinyl out.

“Research indicates that vehicle interiors have a exceptional cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that off-gas in small, confined spaces,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center, that has been researching the the smell since 2006.   “Since [most of] these chemicals aren’t regulated, consumers don’t have any means of knowing the dangers they face. Our testing is meant to expose those dangers and encourage manufacturers to use safer alternatives.”

Automakers have been. Because of this, the durability of new vehicle smell has diminished quite a bit as the ancient 2000so. It’s largely the consequence of attempting to exclude fumes. But in China, by attempting to eliminate it 25, the practice extends out to nullifying. It’s the number one concern for car buyers, and customers and automakers go to great lengths to avoid even the slightest whiff.

“In North America, people want a new vehicle smell and will even get a ‘new car’ spray to make older cars feel new and fresh. In China it’s the opposite,” Andy Pan, supervisor for material engineering at Ford’s Nanjing research facility, told Reuters.

Ford Motor Company employs 18 smell assessors in Nanjing, whose job it is to huff many materials until they go into a vehicle’s production. If any part smells too strongly, the “golden noses” request they be sent back to the supplier and substituted.

As persnickety as that sounds, it is not the first time Ford has gone to great lengths to appease the olfactory senses of Chinese buyers.   Lincoln Continentals are equipped before their journey across the Pacific with carbon sheets.

“When I lived in america I might examine the suspension or the engine,” explained Don Yu, general manager at CGT, making materials to cover seats and dashboards for General Motors, Volkswagen, and Ford. “In China, however, individuals open the vehicle and sit inside, if the smell isn’t good enough they think that it will jeopardize their health.”

While it’s somewhat odd to consider a country with a penchant for baseless alternative medicine and a number of the worst building security regulations on the planet as “health-minded,” China’s air pollution problems have produced a backlash. Smog convinced its occupants to look at the air they breathe and has caused the nation implementing emission laws that were rigid.

Whether it is a inexpensive hatchback wreaking of melted plastics or a stately luxury sedan emitting the aroma of treated leather, China isn’t interested. Drivers will scrub down their interiors with vinegar and water solutions after purchase or head to an auto wash offering.

Unpleasant interior odor was Chinese motorists’ chief concern for both 2015 and 2016, according to J.D. Power.

“Smog and indoor pollution have made Chinese consumers paranoid about smells in new cars, and so the challenge is truly exaggerated,” Jeff Cai, general manager of auto merchandise and quality at J.D. Power China, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “On the flip side, there’s a group of consumers in Europe and U.S. who are so fond of it that they will buy new vehicle smell spray to keep it as long as possible.”

[Image: Tony Alter/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

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