Audi has never been one of the most highly customizable brands. Sure, it offers some cool Exclusive paint options and some interior trim bits but those aren’t well known, nor are they advertised much. So Audi has never been in the same league as brands like Porsche, MINI or even Ford, with its Mustang. Now, though, the four-ringed brand is offering a bit of added customization with something called partial matting.
What is partial matting? It’s the process of, well, partially matting paint in specific designs. The idea is to be able to create logos, words or designs in the paint of the car that are permanent and offer a different texture and look. So they aren’t painted on, nor are they vinyl. Instead, they basically sandblast the design into the paint, using a highly pressurized fine powder of glass, actually, not sand.
This powdered glass is so fine that it only removes a few thousandth of a millimeter from the paint. What it mostly does is “rough up” the paint. While it’s so fine, it actually won’t rough up the paint to the touch, it does rough the surface of the paint just enough to create a visual difference between the regular finish and the matted design.
While this isn’t exactly a new process, as Audi actually offered this on the Audi Q2 #2 Special Edition and the Audi R8 Selection 24h Special Edition, it’s only now that Audi has automated the process and done so very efficiently. “Now, for the first time, we have succeeded in combining this extreme precision with the robustness of volume production,” explains Marco Karig, project manager at Audi Planung GmbH.
So now, Audi can offer a much higher level of customization, by allowing customers to add designs, words or logo to their cars, anywhere they want, in a matte finish. “With this process, we have gained a great advantage over our competitors,” says Dr. Erhard Brandl, Head of Sheet Metal/Painting Technology Development.
It’s a cool look and one that we hope to start seeing more of in the future. Though, we can see some customers getting a bit out of hand. We wonder if the folks in Ingolstadt will limit what customers can put on their cars? We can imagine some obscenities might be desired by some customers. Maybe a middle finger? Could be fun.