We are quite sure many out there can notice the distinctive smell of a brand-new car. For Nissan customers and enthusiasts out there, that smell is the work of Ryunosuke Ino and his team at the Vehicle Interior Air Quality department of Nissan Technical Centre in Japan.
As a smellmaster (or Nose of Nissan), Ryunosuke who has been with Nissan for 20 years has been tasked to evaluate and monitor the odour within new vehicles manufactured by the company. In a short video that Nissan released earlier this month, he pointed out that Nissan believes that smell is a highly critical factor to deliver comfort.
The video also showed that his job goes beyond sitting on the vehicle’s seat and just sniffing the air around its interior. As part of the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) evaluation process, Ryunosuke and his team also sniffed various parts within the vehicle’s cabin including the headrest, dashboard, mirror, glove compartment, visor, ceiling, cupholder, carpet, and even the seats themselves.
The evaluation process also took place in a special testing room whereby the team can tune the lighting system and air circulation to simulate the various level of heat, humidity, and sunlight. This way they can evaluate the odour at different levels of ambient temperature.
Interesting enough, Nissan also has smellmasters in other technical centres throughout the world such as Europe and North America to make sure that the odour within Nissan vehicles is tuned to the respective markets. Not surprisingly, Nissan is not the only one that has a team dedicated to car smells.
Stellantis, the parent company of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group also has a panel of experts that keep track of new-car smells for the automobile group who has a long list of brands under its wings including Fiat, Peugeot, Dodge, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati.
So, it seems quite likely that our national brands Proton and Perodua may have their smellmasters as well. Assuming that they do, it made us wonder what are the factors that they have to consider when determining the smell of new cars that is fit for the Malaysian market.