For the real car enthusiast, the smell of a new car's interior is just as important as its equipment or styling. It is a feature that often identifies a brand. ELiX, a Polish manufacturer of air fresheners and a specialist in this sector, explains how manufacturers create that special aura in their cars.
The smell of a car interior is a very complex subject. It is largely made up of the individual smells of the components used in the manufacturing process and the smell of car interior care products. Already at this stage, some manufacturers select suppliers and materials by choosing those that are aromatically compatible with strict guidelines.
In the case of premium brands, the quality of the materials used to finish the interior is assessed comprehensively. It's a full spectrum of experiences to meet the client's expectations. It is not only a question of the technological usability of a given part, but also of aesthetics (visual, tactile) and also precisely the smell. This means that manufacturers of premium brands do not leave fragrance to chance. It can be said that they manage it extremely effectively.
It is important to remember that in a certain class of car, the interior scent of the vehicle must be consistent with the brand image and the quality of the finish. This is the most important element of fragrance management - the coherence of the fragrance with the interior design. Even if organic leathers are used, they can also have a refined fragrance that creates a unique atmosphere and gives pleasure to the brand or model.
It is extremely important, as manufacturers have already learned, to manage the intensity of the fragrance. The fragrance of the interior elements should be extremely delicate and long-lasting. So that the user recognises it when entering the vehicle and then, thanks to adaptive mechanisms, stops recognising it in a few minutes. Nowadays, good-quality components can smell for up to more than a year, all thanks to the use of special odour carriers that are resistant to high temperatures. This refers to the production stage - for example, the plastic injection stage.
A very interesting technology is the scents released only when the item is touched. They are most commonly used for any textile or leather items
The right vehicle interior scent creates a pleasant atmosphere that remains in the emotional memory much longer than technical descriptions and often helps to sell cars.
According to research, fragrance fulfils its 'marketing' role in two cases. Firstly, when it 'fits the brand' and is compatible with the interior furnishings, and secondly, when its intensity is well chosen. This is illustrated by the accompanying graph of perceived odour intensity - we are interested in level 3, that is, when the perceiver is on the verge of identifying what and how they smell.
An area where the intensity of the odour is so low that we feel nothing (but animals can already identify such low concentrations of odour).
The most interesting range of odour concentration, where we are unable to identify the source of the odour. While we cannot define it, we already perceive it emotionally as something positive (it's pleasant) or negative (be careful, or don't eat); this level triggers a kind of premonition, which some call a sixth sense.
The range within which we can identify a smell and describe it, and clearly know what emotions and memories it is associated with. This is the extent of the effect of well-chosen perfumes or properly applied air fresheners.
The level that starts to become a nuisance; we have too much fragrance intensity and, regardless of the type of fragrance, we are not comfortable with it. It's a case of taking a lift with someone who has spilled a whole bottle of perfume on themselves - "it supposedly smells good but gives you a headache".
Determines the odour concentration at which the pain threshold is exceeded. Regardless of the type of fragrance, the reflex reaction is to want to leave the place with that concentration of smell.
Exaggerated intensity is perceived as bad or even worse than a bad smell. In general, the most important thing for car manufacturers is to create a friendly, good-quality place where we feel comfortable. The same principle should be followed when individually selecting fragrances for cars, rooms or our personal perfumes - Waldemar Stasiak - ELiX
A very good example is the so-called New Car fragrance, which has evolved from a heavy leather scent into a lighter men's perfume. And there is a justification for this, as there are no leather elements in popular cars and the smell seemed artificial. On the other hand, the scent of men's perfume with a hint of luxurious leather gives the interior a pleasantly calm atmosphere and is universally accepted by men and women alike.