Automotive & Transportation

Low VOC polyurethanes create an odorless new car smell

It's exhilarating to drive off the lot in a brand new vehicle, inhaling the distinctive new car smell. In fact, the new car scent has such mass appeal that companies even sell air fresheners featuring the aroma.

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Yet this well-known smell can negatively impact the vehicle interior air quality. The odor inside vehicles is created when volatile organic compounds (VOC) are released from plastic, leather, rubber or textile interior components, which passengers may inhale while in the vehicle.

As a result, cabin air quality is a growing concern for automakers, government regulators and consumers around the world. In China, the world's largest automotive market, the Ministry of Environment Protection has outlined strict limits on emissions in the cabin, striving to have vehicle interior air quality match the air quality of one's home. Beginning in 2017, all newly produced vehicles must meet this stringent requirement.

Global automakers are responding in their respective countries by reducing emissions and odor from vehicle interiors as a value proposition to consumers concerned with the potential effects of VOCs.

In response, BASF is producing low VOC polyurethanes, helping automakers improve vehicle interior air quality by removing emissions from plastic parts.

There are three key components that make BASF emission-reduced polyurethanes the right choice for automakers in their efforts to improve vehicle interior air quality.


Chemistry-based solution

BASF's advanced chemistry can be used to produce high performance parts for car interiors by optimizing selected raw materials with fewer emissions. Therefore, BASF solves the problem of vehicle interior air quality entirely within its walls with no impact on OEM and supplier production.


Going beyond the raw material supplier

BASF offers comprehensive technical support, from processing to testing, ensuring the end product meets OEM and supplier standards.


Assurance in low emissions compliance

BASF's technical teams work with OEMS to meet their individualized specifications for low emissions compliance. The company conducts internal tests to determine the emission values of its low VOC polyurethane, as well as working with independent laboratories to verify and validate its emissions claims.

BASF's odorless polyurethane solution can be incorporated into many of these interior vehicle elements such as:


  • Instrument panels
  • Door panels
  • Acoustic foam
  • Trunk floors
  • Skins
  • Seating


Through the creation of low VOC polyurethanes and its partnership with automakers and suppliers around the world, BASF is pleased to offer solutions that aid in purifying the interior air quality of vehicles and in doing so, improve the overall driving experience for consumers.