Why is metallic paint optional on most German road cars?

Extra sparkle in the pigment rivals the so-called “delivery charge” as the biggest submerged cost in new car prices.

Standard and metallic paints cost almost the same to produce yet buyers pay thousands of dollars extra for the shimmer on their new cars’ panels. According to a poll, certain automakers have relatively few non-metallic colors as standard, raising the typical car’s price.

Volkswagen, for example, advertises the Passat sedan at $49,990 yet the only models at that price are white or red. A consumer who chooses one of the other six colors pays an additional $935.

Volkswagen spokesman Brad Leach said he had “no idea” why the company charged more for metallic paint. The extra fee mirrored the invoice price imposed by Volkswagen in Germany to Australian dealers.

According to DuPont, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of automobile paint, between 70 and 75 percent of all new vehicles have metallic paint, sometimes known as “pearl,” which employs mica particles rather than aluminum to provide depth.

Several automakers defend the increased expense by citing the processes needed to apply and maintain metallic coatings, yet the amounts requested vary greatly.

The newly released Mitsubishi Magna TL comes only in red or white at the list price of $34,790. But, the 10 metallic or pearl color choices add a relatively modest $210 to the price.

According to Drive , Porsche charges the highest extra for metallic paint: $2590 on the $108,500 Boxster.

Mercedes charges only marginally less than Porsche for metallic paint on the much cheaper C180 Kompressor, whose $53,400 applies to three standard colours. Customers must pay an additional $2390 for one of the ten metallic choices.

This contrasts to a $200 loading on the cheapest Daihatsu, the new Charade.

Lexus defies the norm by not charging extra for metallic paint on any of its cars, including the Passat and C180 challenger, the $51,490 IS200.

Tony Skallias, a spokesperson for DuPont, refused to comment on the wholesale rates of automotive paints, but said labor expenses, the number of coats, and the cost of pigments might explain the price differences across vehicle manufacturers.

“In general, all paints are sprayed in the same way,” he added, adding that automobile manufacturers prefer electrostatic spray systems.

According to Edward Rowe, spokesperson for Ateco (importer of Alfa Romeo, Citroen, and Kia), “Even if metallic paint were the same price as regular paint, there are additional considerations to consider. Some lighter colours require more coats or a different undercoat such as white rather than the standard grey and metallics often require a protective gel coating.”

According to Darren Kenney, proprietor of Kenney’s Automotive Paints in Carramar, there is no need for vehicle manufacturers to charge a premium for shiny paint.

“It’s kind of a rip-off,” he adds. “The only difference between standard and metallic paint is that metal flakes are added to the tinter in metallic paint.”

According to Kenney, adding flakes does not increase the price. “Per litre, both metallic and ordinary paints are the same price. The sole exception is white, which is somewhat less expensive.”

Arguing that paint is of higher quality or harder to apply “doesn’t really stand up”, he says. “There will be no difference in quality across brands.”

Ateco’s Rowe believes dealers are justified in charging a premium for metallic paints, and argues it is an important investment for new car buyers. “If you select the incorrect color, you may lose $10,000 in resale value.”

Metallic paint: ends of the spectrum

10 of the dearest

. Saab 9-3 – $1200
. Rover 75 Classic – $1215
. Volvo V70 – $1250
. BMW 525 – $1490
. Audi A6 – $1895
. VW Caravelle – $2070
. Lotus Elise – $2130
. Mercedes C180 – $2390
. Jaguar Sovereign, S-Type, XK and XJ – $2400
. Porsche 911 Carrera – $2590

10 of the cheapest

. Daihatsu Terios, Sirion – no cost
. Ford Fairmont, XR6, XR8 – no cost
. Lexus (all models) – no cost
. Mazda6, 323 – no cost
. Daihatsu YRV – $125
. Hyundai Elantra – $165
. Daewoo Kalos – $175
. Suzuki Ignis, Liana – $175
. Proton Persona – $185
. Daewoo Tacuma $195

Related Questions

  • What is the advantage of metallic paint on cars?

    Metallic automobile paint lasts longer than ordinary paint. It is more resistant to bleaching and fading and retains a great sheen for a longer period of time than a conventional finish. A metallic paint finish on a car has a better resale value than a conventional finish.

  • Does Mercedes use metallic paint?

    Metallic paint on a new vehicle is nearly always a “option” for luxury automobile manufacturers (especially German marques such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz).

  • What are the pros and cons of metallic paint on cars?

    A metallic layer of paint may often boost the resale value of your automobile. Metallic paints are a form of premium paint that, due to its high reflectivity, may conceal dents and scratches. Although metallic car paint might camouflage scratches, it can also make damage harder to fix.

  • What are the disadvantages of metallic paint?

    Its most prevalent downside is its high price. Solid colors raise the cost of automobiles since they need a more costly and time-consuming production and application procedure. Reproducing certain metallic colors also implies extra intricacy and difficulty in matching the colors for the skilled painter.

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