Peter Karl Eastland has a master’s degree in chemistry and forensic science from Leicester University.
But he also possesses an extremely acute sense of smell, a gift he realised he had from an early age, which allows him to identify more than 15 smell categories.
Nissan recognized that he had the ‘nose’ for the job and appointed him the ‘odour assessment lead engineer’ at the European Technical Centre in Cranwell.
His role is to ensure that the Qashqai’s new model has a pleasant experience.
Peter, also known as the “Nose of Nissan”, said that he was responsible for ensuring that passengers have a pleasant experience on board its new Qashqai model.
” I was able to distinguish between supermarket products and those of leading brands, even though the flavours were the same.
” At Nissan, I deal with many different materials such as polymers, rubbers, and adhesives.
” Having a trained nose allows me to distinguish between real and fake leather, cloth, and fabric.
” We strive to offer the best sensory experience possible for our customers. Although tastes and preferences change over time, the sense of smell is constant.
“Therefore, it is part of our job to make sure that any material we use is always going to be perfect in terms of odour and that all of the senses are harmonised.”
Liaising with the Nissan engineering and manufacturing teams, Peter and his team test all the materials, such as the soft material used for the new 3D diamond quilted seats in a variety of conditions to replicate real-world environments.
They must also consider the fact that chemical properties such as odour can change with temperature.
If a new chemical or material is found to have a negative effect on the cabin atmosphere, Peter and his team will find alternatives to preserve the car’s’sanctity. The evaluation process combines objective and subjective assessments.
David Moss, senior vice president, region research & development, added: “That new car smell isn’t just a consequence of the manufacturing process.
” Months of research and development are required to determine the appropriate materials and chemicals used to create unpleasant odours for car occupants.
“It reflects the lengths Nissan goes to in order to make the ownership experience of any new Nissan exactly what our customers hope and expect – even in this very specialised area.”
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