Auto Tech

Why your next new car may smell -- on purpose

Opel's AirWellness is an inexpensive, yet effective, way to get your car smelling like something other than old french fries.

Opel's AirWellness system uses a detachable heating element to diffuse fragrances into the car's cabin.

Opel

The last thing you want to hear when a passenger gets into your car is, "What smells?" However, a new cabin perfume system from General Motors' European brand Opel could turn that statement of disgust into one with positive connotations. And we'd bet dollars to donuts that this will appear in a Stateside GM product in the near future.

Opel's AirWellness system is pretty simple. First, you attach the automaker's PowerFlex adapter to the car's center stack -- the adapter allows the owner to use a range of attachments, including AirWellness and various smartphone mounts. Insert one of two different scent pads into the system, push a button, and your car will soon smell much better, hopefully. Who knows what goes on in some cars.

Two different fragrances from French perfume company Azur Fragrances are available at launch -- Balancing Green Tea or Energizing Dark Wood. The pads contain concentrated perfumes, which activate and release into the air when warmed up, kind of like a Glade PlugIn for your car.

Given the close ties between GM's Opel and Buick products, there's a distinct possibility -- nay, almost a guarantee -- that this will appear on a future Buick product. If not in the brand's 2016 Cascada convertible, then perhaps the upcoming LaCrosse sedan or one of the next Opel-derived models to receive a refresh. After all, the only thing required to make AirWellness work in the US is the inclusion of the PowerFlex adapter.

Were AirWellness to come to the United States, it would likely be the least expensive way to get your new car smelling fancy.

Mercedes first introduced a perfume system on its S-Class luxury car, but the system costs $350 (£230, AU$490) and refills cost between $50 and $100. On the other hand, AirWellness costs the equivalent of $49 and a four-pack of refill pads runs almost $9. Citroën has a similar system, but the company does not sell its cars in the US.