You go to the showroom, order your dream car, suffer through waiting for months and then finally you get to drive it. Only to notice another car on the road that looks exactly the same. It would be great to have a small personal touch on your car that would be entirely unique, but decals are often bad quality and do not stand the test of weather. But Audi just created something for just this purpose.
Creating various symbols on the surface of the car is actually not that big of a problem. But making it unique is, because it adds an additional process for the factory and would slow it down quite a bit. Furthermore, what if you want to sell the car afterwards? A weird symbol may be a deal breaker in many cases. Therefore, Audi created a new technology, which allows etching an image just to the very surface of the top protective coat. It is a simple process and will allow adding a little personal touch to the car and many people may actually be interesting in checking that option.
Painting a car is actually fairly complicated, especially in Audi factories, because they pay a lot of attention to protection against corrosion. Painting process consists of cathodic dip coating to protect against corrosion, at least three further coats: filler, base coat and the transparent lacquer as the top protective coat. This new etching process touches only the very top lacquer surface and, therefore, does not interfere with the usual painting sequence. Audi developed a blasting system, which sprays a special powder over the template of a desired symbol that the customer chose.
Dr. Erhard Brandl, project manager, explained the process: “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 matt”. It is durable and high quality. Any symbol can be put on a car, as long as it does not affect any third-party rights. The image is etched only to the very surface of the top layer, making it appear matt in contrast with the glossy finish of the rest of the car. For now Audi is offering putting custom signs on the side blades of the R8 supercar only, but in the future it will be offered for other parts of other car models as well.
And so you could put your signature mark on your own car. Since it is not etched very deep, it is possible to polish it out some time later when you get bored of it or time comes to sell the car. Audi is proving once again it can make your car actually according to your personality.