Ford Introduces Gasoline Scented Perfume to Help Sell EVs


Ford’s marketing for the Mach-E is getting truly bizarre. Rather than stick to the traditional method of buying up advertising space and bombarding consumers with commercials, the Blue Oval has been branching out by introducing automotive-themed fragrances. However, the gasoline-scented toilet water the company has cheekily named “Mach-Eau GT” and designed to remind customers of what they’ll be missing when they transition over to electric vehicles.

Introduced at England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the perfume carries notes of gasoline, rubber, and the pleasantly noxious off-gassing of interior adhesives that’s responsible for the new-car smell. But it’s exceptionally difficult to determine if this is a gag to highlight the olfactory superiority of electric vehicles or an earnest attempt to preserve the sensory experience of the traditional automobile. This is made worse by Ford’s Mach-E coming with synthetized exhaust notes designed to con the driver into thinking they’re driving something that’s burns gasoline. Are we fetishizing the past as we attempt to kill it or just mocking it? 

While the former seems likely, Ford appears to be treating this as if it’s serious. Though the most jaded among us know it matters little when the whole purpose of the fragrance was for Ford to stir up some media attention with what amounts to a rather confusing publicity stunt.

“Judging by our survey findings, the sensory appeal of petrol cars is still something drivers are reluctant to give up. The Mach Eau fragrance is designed to give them a hint of that fuel-fragrance they still crave,” stated Jay Ward, Ford’s European Director of Product Communications. “It should linger long enough for the GT’s performance to make any other doubts vaporise [sic] too.”

From Ford:

In a Ford-commissioned survey, one in five drivers said the smell of petrol is what they’d miss most when swapping to an electric vehicle, with almost 70 per cent claiming they would miss the smell of petrol to some degree. Petrol also ranked as a more popular scent than both wine and cheese, and almost identically to the smell of new books.

The new scent is designed to help usher these drivers into the future of driving through their sense of smell. Rather than just smelling like petrol though, Mach-Eau is designed to please the nose of any wearer; a high-end fragrance that fuses smoky accords, aspects of rubber and even an ‘animal’ element to give a nod to the Mustang heritage.

The fragrance was designed with loads of help from Olfiction and has simulated a lot of scents rather than just taking a bottle to the nearest Chevron and calling it a day. Benzaldehyde was used to create the new-car smell while para-cresol simulated the scent of tires. Ford said the remaining ingredients include things like blue ginger, lavender, geranium, and sandalwood. There’s also an animal odor that’s been added to give the perfume whiff of horse that honors the Mustang name, and we all know how good horses smell.

I’m really at a loss here. But the general impression is that Mach-Eau GT probably stinks like being situated between a tannery and paper mill. That assumption has been reinforced by Ford deciding against putting the perfume on sale. Instead, it claimed the unbuyable product exists to “help dispel myths around electric cars and convince traditional car enthusiasts of the potential of electric vehicles.”

Your guess is as good as ours on how it accomplishes that.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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