Got A Black Car? Lucky You. Sand It Down Now

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Purveyors of high gloss paint sealants (and high margin up-sells for car dealers) read with horror the story in today’s Wall Street Journal that matte finish is the “new black” for cars. If this trend catches on – and the WSJ says it does – then the sparkling profits will be a goner.

The WSJ is increasingly seeing “production cars from Audi, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz and others with matte paint that harks back to the 1949 Mercuries and ‘32 Ford highboy roadsters that personify the 1950s and 1960s when young hot-rodders on tight budgets often saved the paint for last. Concentrating on making cars fast before making them good-looking, they drove their ‘rods on the street and the dragstrip covered in primer, which at least kept their bodies from rusting.”

But not to worry, our vibrant aftermarket industry is on the ball. 3M has joined other companies in the matte market and offers VentureShield Paint Protection Matte Finish Film 7710. Marketed as a “sensible alternative to bug shields or vehicle bras,” the product offers ”basic performance and durability at an economical price.”

3M will most likely raise the price and change the advertising copy after reading the WSJ. The Journal suggests “it’s a translucent stick-on film that protects the underlying paint and imparts a matte finish.” Better already, but could use a little added, well, sparkle.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Shaker Shaker on Dec 27, 2010

    Just another sign that the automotive finish industry is bankrupt of ideas. The "self-healing" paint touted for the near future seems like a nice idea, but it's probably an environmental nightmare to apply, and could likely shed nanoparticulates that would make asbestos seem like mother's milk...

  • Zeus01 Zeus01 on Dec 27, 2010

    After reading this I had to check the calendar to make certain that today was not April 1st. A matte paint job would be a low-maintenance finish and would certainly look cheap. Someone key the side of your car? No problem! Just pick up a $5 can of spray paint and voila. But if you want to cover up a truly ugly paint job there are other alternatives too. A couple of college lads in Vancouver "re-painted" their P.O.S. Pinto in 1985 by cajoling a local rock radio station into giving them about a thousand 99.3 FM C-FOX radio station window stickers. These were then plastered over every painted, chromed and rusted portion of the car, negating the cost of both paint and bondo. Used shag carpeting offers another benefit: it can cover rust holes the size of frizbees. A few gallons of contact cement and a nearby apartment renovation project to raid and you're good to go.

  • JMII JMII on Dec 27, 2010

    YUCK. I hate this matte paint trend. Even on "rat rods" it looks stupid. Glossy, deep, shiny, wet looking paint is the only way to go on cars.

  • N Number N Number on Dec 27, 2010

    It made my day to see 'Mercury' pluralized correctly.