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Smellbox Trial Boosts Cabin Filter Sales

Scheme hasĀ  sales potential for motor factors and garages.

Group Auto member All Vehicle Parts is taking part in a pilot scheme designed to help motorists take greater control over the quality of the air that they breathe when inside their cars.

Market Harborough-based AVP is conducting the pilot in association with Corteco, the aftermarket arm of Freudenberg (one of the world’s leading manufacturers of cabin filters), which is the company responsible for the design and supply of a new but simple piece of equipment, called a ‘Smellbox.

The Smellbox helps garage customers to smell the difference between different types of cabin filters and allows them to make a more informed choice. At one end is a cabin filter with activated carbon. At the other is a cabin filter that removes particles only.

Garage customers can smell the difference in performance. Early feedback suggests drivers involved in the trial are trading up to the activated carbon filter options, in many cases.

The combination of air and traffic fumes contains dust, smoke particles, exhaust gases, as well as other airborne irritants such as pollen and unpleasant smells. Once drawn inside the car by the air intake, these airborne irritants are re-circulated, often exacerbating health and respiratory conditions such as hay fever.

AVP managing director Craig Wilson says the garages are able to point out that if the cabin filter is inefficient, the air inside the car can deteriorate to a condition that is up to six times worse than it is outside at the kerbside.

‘For anyone susceptible to health issues caused by airborne allergens, that’s got to be a concern for family health. The Smellbox helps customers appreciate the differences in performance and this is prompting them to trade up.’

Graham Packer is proprietor of Roy Hubbard Motors (RHM), one of the garages involved in the pilot scheme. He says few drivers have ever heard of a cabin filter and do not appreciate their importance.

RHM has been able to use the Smellbox to demonstrate the essential differences between different cabin filters. He is able to point out that in most cases, the OE specification for cabin filters includes activated carbon. A cabin filter that removes just particles actually represents a downgrade.

The pilot suggests that drivers regard this as unacceptable.

Craig Wilson points out that clogged cabin filters can also explain the reason why the air conditioning system cannot clear the ‘misting‘ on the inside of windscreens. He adds that if a driver has a sneezing fit at 55 mph, a sneeze attack can mean up to 25 metres of blind driving. That’s another road safety hazard.

Corteco says many cabin filters in use around the UK are operating way beyond their useful lifetime. Whatever type of cabin filter is installed, the company says they should be replaced regularly in order to sustain performance levels.

It emphasises that they cannot be cleaned and that they should be changed at least once a year.

The Smellbox helps motorists to understand why it makes sense for them to choose the type of cabin filter that’s installed in the car. Although the trial is in the early stages, it seems to be suggesting that given the opportunity, drivers will trade up. That’s a strong sales message that should not be ignored.


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