Why new cars are expected to smell less and less new

The characteristic odor of new cars is slowly becoming a bad smell now that more and more attention is being paid to the causes of these odors: volatile substances that are not always healthy.

The smell of a new car is caused by chemicals in the air. These are emitted by a mix of plastics, glue, textiles, and other materials that make up car interiors. But car manufacturers are put under pressure to choose purer and odorless alternatives, Autocar writes.

It has been determined that eight substances can have a negative effect on occupants. These are so-called volatile organic compounds such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, ethylbenzene, formaldehyde, styrene, toluene and xylene.

These scents can give, according to Autocar, cause some people allergic-type reactions such as irritation, sneezing, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, and headache.


The strength of the fragrance would vary depending on the car’s exposure to heat and light. The substances, as it were, evaporate during the day and precipitate again in the evening when a car has cooled down, according to an expert. The next day they are released again, and so the cycle keeps repeating.

The United Nations issued new guidelines last June, which can serve as a framework for countries wishing to introduce regulations. The UN Economic Commission is encouraging car manufacturers to use less harmful (and therefore less odorous) materials.

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