Audi will start etching symbols into paint

Most automakers are offering increasing levels of customization and individualism to its customers. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all have their own individual programs that allow for customers to customize their new cars in ways that make theirs unique from other cars on the road. From different materials in the interior to custom color options, customers will always have ways to make their car special. However, Audi has just created a new way to customize the exterior look of its cars.

In a patented process, Audi can now etch symbols, logos and even words into paint in a way that won’t fade or ruin in weather and is completely permanent. When it’s finished, it looks as if Audi used matte paint in the symbol but nowhere else on the car. But it isn’t actually matte paint.

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What happens is that, after the top protective clear coat is applied to the paint, a blasting system sprays a specialized powder into the surface of the clear coat in exact images. The spray only goes a few thousandths of a millimeter into the paint, which is less than the width of a human hair. This specialized powder actually roughens that clear coat and creates the effect of looking matte.

“With this process, we modify the brilliance of the paintwork and the intensity of its sheen. Light hitting the surface is then reflected diffusely by the individualized surface areas. This makes it appear matte,” explained project manager Dr. Erhard Brandl. Production section head Mirko Endres added, “This form of individualization is weather resistant, unlike conventional lettering and stickers, and it has a much more high-quality appearance.”

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Audi is offering this process on the R8 supercar first, but it will soon make its way to other cars. At the moment, Audi can do any symbol or lettering that doesn’t violate any third-party rights and can do up to a one-meter by one-meter area.

This is a new way to customize the look of you Audi and does so in a way that’s classy, tasteful and safe, as it won’t get damaged by poor weather and has no chance of coming off. Although, because of that, it is permanent. However, if you can live with a design for the life of the car, then this is a great way to add some flare to your Audi.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.