As much as I want this joke to literally be about Audi offering people nose jobs to buy its cars, it’s actually about something equally as absurd—the elite team of sniffers Audi employs to make sure its cars don’t smell bad.
Audi’s corporate quality control centre has apparently employed chemists claiming to have functional senses of smell since 1985, according to The Drive. These scientists work on the smell of the interior of Audi’s vehicles, focusing on new materials being introduced, as Audi considers smell a “foundational” part of a customer’s comfort.
I don’t know who needs this, but… here’s some pictures of the Audi Nose Team hard at work. pic.twitter.com/zyiIjMHJN0
— Audi (@Audi) May 12, 2020
Here’s more on how the team works, from The Drive:
“At the tip of this hierarchy pyramid is the well-being of the customer, right at the base is the smell.” Explained [Audi chemist Heiko Lüßmann-Geiger]. “If the customer is now irritated by this odor from below, he will no longer correctly perceive all the other positive comfort properties of the vehicle. He is too irritated by the stress brought about by the odor.”
Smells are then graded on a scale from one (“odourless”) to six (“unbearable”). Glass, ceramics, and metals are often rated as a one, given that they are a core component of the vehicle. Other materials must be rated below a four (“irritating”) in order to pass the sniff test.
The team will also randomly pull cars from the fleets and showrooms after initial inspection, just to make sure new smells haven’t crept up since the vehicle left the quality control of the factory.
There’s even video of these people doing their nose jobs:
The video shows these scientists smelling things in jars, which are probably material samples from the design team, heating up parts like the steering wheel in ovens before smelling, or putting lamps over the windshield to, I guess, give the seals a whiff replicating a hot summer’s day. Honestly looks like a fun job if you get along with the other noses in the room.
The official name for the team isn’t the “Nose Team,” unfortunately. Instead, they’re lumped into a broader category of smell scientists Audi calls the The Audi Odor Team. They even get a shout-out on Audi’s corporate philosophy webpage:
The Audi Odor Team, generally referred to as the “Nose Team,” ensures a consistently pleasant smell in Audi vehicles. Plastic parts that give off unpleasant odours don’t stand a chance. The same goes for materials that can give off unhealthy emissions in the car.
All I can think about with this is how great of a marketing campaign you could run with this information. It’s exactly like like the “toasted” cigarettes from that one episode of Mad Men. “Every company odor tests their cars… but Audi has the Nose Team.”
Does this mean Gizmodo needs to integrate a new “odor” category in our reviews? Does that mean management will approve rhinoplasty for everybody? I mean, if it’s part of the job… you want the best sniffer available.