The shift in buying trends is not only impacting the way that cars are powered (gas vs electric) but is also even affecting the color that customers are getting for their new vehicles. It wasn’t too long ago that shiny metallic paints were trendy among the buying public, but it appears that the opposite is now happening with more customers buying darker matte colored hues. But is a matte paintjob the right play for you and your budget?
Matte Paints Are Rapidly Becoming The New Trend Setter
Gleaming paintwork once defined the color scene in the new car market with many buyers being attracted to these shiny hues like moths to a flame. However, this is rapidly changing with buyers embracing more subdued earth colored hues like green, blue, brown, and tan. Leading the charge is a special type of paint called matte paint. While this type of paint is very similar to what’s seen in traditional paint, matte colors use a different drying process for the clearcoat with a matte paint color having a rougher texture versus the glass smooth texture seen in other types of automotive paint.
This texture also causes the paint to not “shine” with the matte color having a more restrained look to its presentation. These paints were once largely exclusive to luxury car brands like BMW but in recent years they have become available on a wider array of offerings including Rivian via their Earth Tone series as well as other brands like Genesis. This enhanced exposure has made the color stand out in the eyes of a wider net of buyers but the color also comes with its own unique drawbacks and care requirements.
Matte Paints Require More Care, Cost More
A prominent drawback to matte paints is that they are often more expensive than traditional paints with some colors costing as much as $10,000. In addition to the cost, these paints also require specialized care that is radically different from traditional paints. For example, owners can’t go through automated car washes with the brushes inside damaging the unique clear coat texture. This also plays into owners being asked not to wax or polish the paint since these products can also alter and damage the clear coat.
Instead, owners have to hand-wash the paint as well as make sure that the products they are using are compatible with the paint too. Automakers have also occasionally taken steps to ensure customers comply with the strict care regimen these paints require. BMW for example required Frozen Edition buyers to sign paperwork saying that they would not take their cars through a car wash and that they would have the paint washed and serviced at their dealership. Failure to do so resulted in any damage due to neglect not being covered by the warranty.
Is Matte Paint Right For You?
If your willing to follow these steps then matte paint could be the right fit for you. We have had a few testers over the years with matte hues and the colors are certainly good at attracting attention from passersby. While it remains to be seen if this shift to matte colors is a short term fad or a longer trend there’s no denying that the colors are helping draw people into showrooms especially for EV and luxury brands.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.