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Should We Pay More for Metallic Paint at New Car Yards? Calling All Paint Professionals

Should We Pay More for Metallic Paint at New Car Yards? Calling All Paint Professionals

Calling all auto paint professionals to weigh in on a heated debate.

We know new car dealerships depend upon buyers falling in love with lustrous colours for those extra dollars. But should we pay more for metallic paint when purchasing a new car, not repaired, brand new?

Australian’s do love their metallic paint. Metallic paint is a label for automotive finishes containing metal flakes (usually aluminium). Other terms include iridescent colours, metal flake and pearlescent. The paint is applied to the body of the car as a base coat then protected by a clear lacquer over the top. These can be a 3 or 4 layer basecoat system.

Do standard and metallic paints cost almost the same to produce? From our experience metallic and standard paints cost the same per litre (when importing).

DuPont, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of automotive paint, says between 70% and 75% of all new vehicles have metallic paint, or “pearl” which uses mica flakes rather than aluminium to give more apparent depth.

Some car makers justify the extra cost as reflecting the techniques used to apply and protect metallic finishes, but the costs vary enormously between car brands. All the examples below are becoming outdated, here are some examples.

Drive’s survey found Porsche charges the highest premium for metallic paint – a whopping $2590 on the $108,500 Boxster.

Mercedes charges marginally less than Porsche for metallic paint on the much cheaper C180 Kompressor, whose $53,400 applies to three standard colours. Purchasers must add $2390 for one of Mercedes 10 metallic options.

This compares with a loading of just $200 at the cheaper end of the market, on Daihatsu’s Charade.

Lexus does not have an additional charge for their metallic paint range.

A spokesperson for DuPont declined to comment on the wholesale prices of automotive paints, but cited labour costs, the number of coats and the cost of pigments could explain the car brands differing prices.

Generally speaking, car makers are favouring electrostatic spray methods. Some of the lighter metallic colours require more coats, or a different undercoat such as white rather than the standard grey, and metallic often required a protective gel coating.

Is there justification for car manufacturers to charge a premium for metallic paint? The only difference between standard and metallic paint is that metal flakes are added to the tinter in metallic paint. Or is there more?

Let us know you thoughts!