A Go for Matte Auto Finishes

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Your cell phone can get a matte finish. Same is true with your dresses and photos. Moreover, what can stop you from getting shine-free matte finish on your car?

At this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a new trend in the industry has become apparent. And that is the rise of matte finish. To stress, Audi AG, General Motors Corp., and Lamborghini and other automakers showcased a total of eight matte-finish cars.

The trend is attributed to the owners clamor for distinction. Car owners want their vehicles to be unique and easily identifiable.

Before, matte finish was only used to serve as an accent to some auto features such as the . Now, customizers and automakers have paved the way for overall auto matte finish. And watchers in the industry predict, the trend also will conquer the mainstream.

Karen Surcina, color technology and marketing manager of Dupont Automotive, said buyers should expect to see matte finishes on specialty or limited-run vehicles in the next two or three years. "We expect that the matte trend would be more of a niche offering," she added.

Aaron Bragman, auto industry analyst with Global Insight, told CNN that one compelling reason matte finishes are taking off is that young drivers, who are used to the flat finishes on their cell phones and laptops, no longer equate shininess with luxury.

"The trend is toward more personalization, which to different consumer groups means different things," Surcina noted in an interview. "Automakers are looking to differentiate their vehicles. One of the ways to do that is through bright and bold colors."

GM's Vice President of Design Ed Welburn said nearly all automakers are experimenting with matte because it shows off the pure design of the car. "It reduces the design to the very core elements because you're not influenced by the surroundings at all. You don't have the reflections of trees or buildings or the reflection of clouds or anything on the car because of the matte finish," Welburn said at the NAIAS, where matte-finish Hummer HX and Chevrolet Groove concepts were showcased. "You see the pure surface development and nothing else."

"You would not believe how difficult it is to do a matte finish in production," Welburn said. "Every time you take it through the car wash, the buffers are starting to buff it back up and it starts to get shiny there. It's easy to paint, but it's not easy to keep it matte."

"Now we can't keep it dull," Welburn concluded.

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