Can you remember what your car smelled like before the odors of fast food, infant regurgitations, dog mess, and the desperate efforts of fading air fresheners started to dominate?
Auto giant Nissan takes the odor of a new car very seriously, so much so that it employs “certified smellers” to ensure its customers have a pleasant olfactory experience when they climb inside one of its cars for the first time. And hopefully the second and third time, too.
The Japanese carmaker has just released a video revealing why it believes the smell of a new car is just as important as how it looks and how it feels.
Tori Keerl, a materials engineer at the Nissan Technical Center near Detroit, Michigan, works as one of its certified smellers. She explains in the video how she goes about her duties, sniffing various parts of a car’s interior to ensure the odors are of a particular standard.
“I think a new car smell does improve the driver’s experience,” Keerl says. “It’s pretty important to U.S. customers that a new car smell takes them back to that memory of buying their first car. It makes them really excited for the possibilities of what this new car will bring them.”
To become an odor tester at Nissan involves multiple smelling sessions covering a wide range of odors. “Once you’re tested and you pass all five smells, you get to be on the odor panel,” Keerl explains.
As part of their job, a Nissan tester will use their carefully trained nose to smell various parts of the vehicle’s interior. They’ll then make a list of the good odors and any bad odors they find, and use the gathered data to determine if the car meets Nissan’s strict requirements for odor.
Keerl says the smell of a new vehicle is gradually changing over the years as automakers move toward using natural products, which should be easier on the nasal lining of not only the testers, but the customers too.
The certified smeller says she finds her job fascinating and enjoys telling other people about what she does.
Nissan notes that Keerl has recently been getting a whiff of its 2022 Pathfinder SUV, though the automaker declines to describe how it smells. New, probably.