When people ask why you like cars, you likely answer that it’s a whole-body experience that engages all the senses. And Audi agrees, that’s why it employs a nose team to make sure that bad smells don’t spoil your experience of their cars.
The team is actually called the Odor Team and it’s been working to block bad smells since 1985. The goal is to make the materials and chemicals as neutral as possible to ensure that your new car smell isn’t spoiled by leather that smells like fish oil or floor mats that smell oniony.
I don’t know who needs this, but… here’s some pictures of the Audi Nose Team hard at work. pic.twitter.com/zyiIjMHJN0
— Audi (@Audi) May 12, 2020
To achieve this, odors are rated on a scale from 1, meaning completely odorless components like glass, to 6, meaning unbearable. To make it into the car, materials need to be rated under a 4 (irritating).
The five-person team that has been led by Heiko Lussman-Geiger, analyzes around 500 chemical components at Audi’s Bavarian Quality Center.
Lussman-Geiger explains that he sees vehicle comfort as a pyramid. A bad smell can influence how other aspects of the car are seen and can start to erode a customer’s perception of their car’s quality.
“At the tip of this hierarchy pyramid is the well-being of the customer, right at the base is the smell,” says Lussman-Geiger. “If the customer is now irritated by this odor from below, he will no longer correctly perceive all the other positive comfort properties of the vehicle. He is too irritated by the stress brought about by the odor.”
To make sure that the accountants don’t go around spoiling things, Audi brings materials from production vehicles back to the lab.
“It can be the case that a supplier after a certain time employs a slightly different material composition or uses another manufacturing process, and suddenly we have odors in the vehicle that are undesirable,” says Lussmann-Geiger.
So if you’ve ever wondered why Audis smell better, now you know.
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