Even though DuPont's automotive paints, or "performance coating," division brought in 12.1 percent of the firm's 2010 revenue, the pretax operating-profit margin was only seven percent, said to be about "half the corporate average." With the highly diversified firm making plays in more lucrative "megatrend" areas, Automotive News reports that DuPont has retained Credit Suisse to find a buyer for its two coatings divisions valued at $3-4 billion.
In another case of Nature to the Rescue, scientists have come up with a polyurethane coating that repairs itself in the sun. The secret ingredient: chitosan, which comes from the shells of crustaceans and is also used for water filtration, blood clotting and as a diet aid. The common principle appears to be that it as a binding agent, i.e. it wants to hold certain things together.
The paint shop is one of the least environmentally friendly divisions of any auto production plant. Work is being done however to reduce the impact of the painting process in producing new vehicles such as the announcement by Ford that they will partner with Henkel Corporation to produce the automotive industry's first production vehicle with a non-phosphate conversion coating process. The new multi-metal pretreatment conversion coating process, called Bonderite, streamlines the vehicle assembly