If you think that buying a luxury car automatically entitles you to a better paint job. Think again.
As Darren Priest – a professional detailer with over thirty years’ experience points out even luxury brands like Mercedes and Range Rover can be among the worst auto manufacturers when it comes to paint jobs.
What’s worse is that you’ll likely pay more for premium paint on a luxury car than you will for the same paint on a less expensive car.
The true secret to the quality of paint on a car lies in the manufacturer’s painting process which is the focus of this article.
Below is a list of cars with the best paint quality based on Darren’s experience with a closer look at the manufacturer’s paint process.
But as he cautions keep in mind that even within the manufacturer’s line, each individual car is likely to have its own level of imperfection.
Among what Darren considers to be the top tier cars when it comes to best paint quality is Ferrari.
Ferrari paint quality is much better than it’s ever been.
Still, many owners report receiving their new Ferrari with swirl marks and other imperfections in the paint.
According to forums the trouble seems to be that these blemishes are incurred during the manufacturing process.
From Ferrari’s point of view, since their cars are shipped all over the world it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to work on the quality of the paint since who knows what’ll happen during shipping.
Although Rosso Corsa is synonymous with Ferrari, red colors only make up about 45% of all new Ferraris.
In Europe, the most popular Ferrari colors tend to be blue and grey. While in Asian countries it’s very common to see a white Ferrari streak past you.
No matter which country you purchase your car from It seems that once you receive your new Ferrari, you’ll have to put in the elbow grease to bring it up to that illustrious showroom condition.
Porsche’s paint-to-sample program allows you to create your own custom color and send it to Porsche for approval.
Or you can select from Porsche’s own list of pre-approved custom colors which harken back to Porsche’s past.
One of Porsche’s best quality paint-to-sample colors is aqua blue metallic. It was first introduced in the 911 997.2 in 2009.
Part of what makes the color and its quality possible is Porsche’s color mixing bank. Not only is the quality good but Porsche is able to paint more of its cars in this color faster.
Pricing for the paint depends on the car.
Acquired by the Volkswagen Group in 1998, Lamborghini has come a long way in its manufacturing process which also includes its painting process.
Looking for the best paint color for your Lamborghini?
You can feel confident about choosing any color you want. Lamborghini has a new paint shop which allows the company to offer infinite color options.
PPG says that it’s the exclusive paint supplier to Lamborghini for matte colors.
The company also credits Lamborghini with leading the matte finish trend when it introduced the Black Gallardo in 2006.
Lamborghini only recommends the use of PPG products when repairing matte colors on their cars.
Lexus paint jobs look just as good in your garage as they do in the showroom.
And is it any wonder?
For example, the RC F was the first Lexus to adopt a complex multilayered paint process which affects the way the car looks and responds to sunlight.
Lexus’ new painting process results in a level of depth and luminance not possible with traditional paintwork.
Lexus has dedicated decades of research to making its exterior paint options unique and lasting.
It’s also important to note that Lexus doesn’t just use off-the-shelf colors. No. no. no. The company has a dedicated group of color designers to develop new paint hues.
Do you own an Acura? Ever wonder what goes into the Andaro paint package?
When it’s applied to a car like the NSX you can choose from a variety of factory colors. Regular colors for the NSX get two clear coats for extra UV protection and a deeper shine.
But for colors like Valencia Red Pearl and Nouvelle Blue Pearl, the Andaro treatment includes what Acura calls a tinted clear mid-coat.
It’s double the thickness of a standard coat resulting in incredible depth. Then the car gets two more clear coats to maximize that deep glossy look.
Jaguar kicks off the list of auto manufacturers Darren considers having B Grade quality paint jobs.
SVO is a specialist manufacturing facility that Jaguar shares with Land Rover.
SVO’s purpose is to push the boundaries of a Jaguar or Land Rover by making special products and services for their customers.
One of those special products is paint. And according to Jaguar its home to a world-class paint facility.
More than half of the entire complex is dedicated to the paint center.
It features the very latest in paint technology including four state-of-the-art spraying robots to apply all the premium SVO colors and bespoke paint colors requested by customers.
Sort of like Porsche’s Paint-to-Sample program. And like modern paint application it’s an environmentally friendly facility.
Chrysler makes use of a three story, state-of-the-art paint shop renovated by Fiat in 2014.
It features auto-adjusting inspection lighting, a new type of conveyer system and recaptured air for its spray booths.
Volkswagen has a similar lighting system. It helps Chrysler inspect the body of a car before it moves to the various coating and painting stages.
By using a floor-mounted friction-driven conveyer Chrysler side steps the oil and paint chips that can get tracked through the painting plant and wind up on the cars like Jeeps and Hummers.
Like the conveyer system the new air system also works to conserve energy by capturing air that would have been exhausted, instead of heating and humidifying air pulled in from outside.
BMW pioneered a new paint application process developed with a leading mechanical and plant engineering firm.
The EcoPaint Jet Pro offers many benefits. It uses less paint. It’s overspray-free. And it can use two colors simultaneously without masking.
The new paint technology allows using two paint colors to create a contrasting roof, racing stripes and other designs which means virtually limitless options for individualization.
BMW’s EcoPaintJet Pro doesn’t use electrostatic technology for paint adhesion.
Instead, it relies on a jet application to coat the panel using the least amount of air and energy.
That’s an energy savings of up to 6,000 megawatt-hours and a reduction in carbon footprint of nearly 2,000 tons based on 7,000 operating hours to get a custom two-tone paint job on an M4.
Before BMW, Audi a adopted an overspray-free painting to be applied on cars like its limited edition A4 sedan and A5 coupe.
Like BMW, this allows Audi to apply two different colors in the same painting process while protecting the environment and cutting costs.
Traditional two paint processes involved masking which as anyone who’s done that can tell you is time and material intensive.
In this new method a robot controlled high-precision instrument measures the laser-brazed seem between the car’s roof and side panel frame.
Then an applicator applies black paint specially developed for this method in strips without spray mist.
This precision allows the contrasting paint to be applied in one process saving time and ultimately saving you money.
The company developed and implemented the Honda Smart Ecological Paint process back in 2013 which is a painting technology that eliminates a middle coating process from a commonly used four coat, three-brake auto-body painting process.
The new process is a three-coat, two-bake water-based painting process.
However, eliminating the middle coating process restricts the paint colors that can be used.
To overcome this issue Honda developed a highly functional material for the color basecoat in the final coating process.
The material used for the color basecoat allows Honda to use any exterior paint color which is a first for a three-coat, two-bake process.
The new Honda Smart Ecological Paint process included a new paint robot system with a built-in quick load and quick wash paint tank to improve painting efficiency and reduce the amount of paint material used.
These last two manufacturers weren’t a part of Darren’s list.
But we thought we’d include them anyway since they’re among the few true luxury brands with a sterling reputation for a high standard of craftsmanship which trickles down to their painting process.
Bentley offers the Mulsanne in no fewer than 115 standard colors.
Firstly, the painting process on a single Mulsanne takes 86 hours.
Once a car arrives at the painting facility its dipped in a series of full immersion tanks to prepare the car for two coats of primer (applied by hand) then the color basecoat is applied again by hand to achieve the optimum finish.
But the application of clear lacquer is reserved for robots followed by a final polishing.
According to Bentley, it takes many months of in-depth training for a quality control inspector to learn how to identify defects.
12. Rolls Royce
As you can imagine production numbers for Rolls Royce cars aren’t that big.
Known as the Surface Finish Centre the paint shop runs on two shifts and can increase to three shifts as demand increases.
The body of a car like the Rolls Royce Ghost is carefully inspected before they get e-coated.
The window frames get masked so that the adhesive used to retain the glass doesn’t get affected during the painting process.
Since the interior isn’t painted it gets masked-off as well. Each car gets meticulously pre-primmer tacked to remove dust and grease.
Then the travels on a conveyer belt through a row of three painting booths and a primer booth before going backwards through the two primer ovens and a cooling booth.
Then back to a primer sanding booth and back to the same booth for the basecoat.
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