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This Feb. 15, 2018, file photo shows a Ford logo on a vehicle at the Pittsburgh Auto Show in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Ford Attempts To Eliminate New Car Smell

Apparently, the Chinese are not fans.

November 19, 2018 - 5:10 pm

(WWJ) It's probably one of the most familiar smells on earth, that mingling of new plastic, upholstery and fresh engine parts. Most people call it the new car smell.

Are you a fan? Apparently Ford Motor Co. is not.

Ford is attempting to eliminate that new car smell from its rides, according to a patent the company filed for an odor-removal process meant to eliminate the new car smell after a vehicle purchase.

According to, the process involves parking the car in the sun, opening the windows slightly, and turning on the engine, heater and fan."The system includes special software and various air quality sensors, and works only when fitted to a driverless or semi-autonomous vehicle," wrote, adding: 

"A lot of technology is involved in the patent application. The car would determine whether conditions are right to expel compounds, and the car would drive itself to a place in the sun and bake away the offensive odor."

The process will only work on self-driving or semi-autonomous cars, so it's not exactly going to be available tomorrow. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has not issued a ruling yet on the application. 

Why go to all that trouble to literally drive out a smell that some people love? 

A continental divide is perhaps at issue. Studies show that while Americans like the scent, the burgeoning Chinese market does not.

Brent Gruber, senior director of global automotive, at J.D. Power told the Free Press that smell remains the number one problem in the Chinese market.

“Unpleasant interior smell/odor remains the top industry problem in that market,” Gruber said. “To put that in context, it is nearly double the problem rate of the second most prevalent problem, excessive fuel consumption.”

More than 10 percent of Chinese drivers complained about the smell, according to the 2018 J.D. Power China Initial Quality Study.