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Imagine: A Cologne for Your Car

Mercedes and Rolls already scent their cars. Are Ford and GM Next?

March 21 was National Scent Day, and while it was a fine excuse for the fragrance industry to celebrate the $28 billion worth of perfumes it sells every year, the occasion also carried a whiff of what might be the latest aroma trend: scents for our cars to wear.

Ford partnered with ScentAir, a leading manufacturer of diffusers that perfume the air of retail spaces. The company produced seven potions it said would promote “a more enjoyable drive.” Does that portend a time when your Ford will come with its own aroma? “We serve a huge customer base, and there’s a lot that makes sense, but there’s nothing written down,” said Ford spokesman Dan Mazei. At the same time, he added, “We’re not ruling it out.”

If Ford elects to add aromas to its list of options, it actually won’t be the first. This year, Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class sedans came with an optional scent diffuser hidden in the glove box. The $350 upgrade allows drivers to select from four “mood” fragrances. Cadillac has been adding a custom fragrance called Nuance to the seat leather since 2003, and GM has the idea under consideration for its other brands. “Fragrance delivery is one of many [ideas] in the exploratory phase,” said global director of color and trim Sharon Gauci.

Car interior fragrances actually aren’t a new idea. In 2000, Rolls-Royce began adding an interior scent—formulated to smell like a 1965 Rolls-Royce.

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