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Automotive Paint Expert Says Worldwide Trends Have Big Implications

Jeep calls the rust-colored paint that adorns its 2014 Wrangler Sahara "Copperhead Pearl." Ford has named a similar blend of reddish-brown hues on its Escape Titanium its "Sunset Metallic." Land Rover, displaying a near-identical color on its Range Rover Sport has named the shade "Chili Red."


Knowing how the bacon gets made rarely entices us and, in the same vein, the same usually goes for knowing about how new cars get painted. But in both instances, however, quality – or a lack thereof – is instantly obvious. In terms of the latter, Ford is showing off its new paint quality process with 3D Dirt Detection Technology to find imperfections in vehicle paint more easily and more quickly.


Paint colors are a big deal for any automaker, and choosing hues for a specific brand can take as much fretting and focus as nearly any other aspect of vehicle design. For SRT, that means finding colors that cooperate with everything from the high-performance Grand Cherokee SRT8 SUV and the Chrysler 300 SRT8 sports sedan, to the wilder Charger SRT8, Challenger SRT8 and Viper. That range requires more than a little breadth, and Jim Parker, Head of Exterior Color at Chrysler, recently took the tim


If you've ever wondered how automakers know their paints will stand up to the test of time, a field in Florida may have your answer. Manufacturers routinely turn to Q-Lab, a facility situated on a 20-acre open field just outside of Homestead, Florida for durability testing. There, the company's engineers apply automotive paint to twelve-inch by 4-inch metal panels and leave them to bake in the unforgiving sun. The facility's location next to Everglades National Park is ideal for testing paint fa


When it came to paint colors on new cars, for ten years, silver was the one hue to rule them all, not just extending its lead through 2009 and 2010 but doing so in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The revolution came in 2011, when white took over as the top color in the States and black claimed the number one spot in Europe, silver maintaining its hold in the Orient.


The March 11 earthquake and resultant tsunami in Japan rocked the country's automotive supply chain, leaving many suppliers with damaged factories and unreliable power. One nearly immediate impact was that automakers like Ford, Toyota and Chrysler could no longer offer colors like red or black.


To be completely fair, the California Air Resources Board never intended to ban black paint -- or any color of paint, for that matter. When devising ways to implement the Cool Cars Initiative, CARB couldn't find any dark paints that passed the 20% solar reflectivity test, which others took to mean that CARB would be banning them. Not so, says a CARB spokesman: "We are by no means interested in banning or restricting car colors." For now, CARB is sticking with the reflective glass portion of the


In a move that will likely get California's consumers in a huff, impending legislation may soon restrict the paint color options for Golden State residents looking for their next new vehicle. The specific colors that are currently on the chopping block are all dark hues, with the worst offender seemingly the most innocuous color you could think of: Black. What could California possibly have against these colors, you ask? Apparently, the California Air Resources Board figures that the climate con


click above image for a gallery showing the paint job's progression

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