Why Detroit Loves That Used-Car Smell

General Motors and


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are veering into online used-car sellers’ lane. How quickly can they overtake them?

GM announced earlier this month that it will launch a new website, CarBravo, which will help its U.S.-based dealers market and sell all types of used cars online, not just its models. That would place it in direct competition with online used-car retailers such as Carvana, Vroom,

Shift Technologies

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and even


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which has both a bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce presence. Ford started inching into that territory last year when it launched a platform, Ford Blue Advantage, that also lets dealers list and sell used cars, though it is limited to its own-brand certified vehicles.

The move would help GM take a piece of the red-hot used-car market. Almost three times as many used cars were sold in 2021 as new vehicles in the U.S., according

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The Science of the New-Car Smell

Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

Sit behind the wheel and take a deep breath. Ah, that new-car smell, right? It’s a scent so desired that it comes in bottles and air fresheners, all to help drivers recapture those first few months of new-car ownership. But what exactly is traveling into our noses from all those various automotive plastics, leathers, carpets, and seat cushions, and why do we like it so much? We like it, in part, because of what it signifies.

“What’s really interesting about the smell of anything new … there’s often a sense of pride and accomplishment,” said Dawn Goldworm, who runs 12.29, a scent-based branding and marketing company in New York City. Along with her sister Samantha, Dawn Goldworm works with top fashion houses, five-star hotels, and an A-list clientele of automotive brands to help them figure out what their brands should smell like.

Their work includes creating

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