Chevrolet Sonic to be painted using new environmentally-friendly 'three-wet' process
Chevrolet will use a new painting process called "three-wet" on the new Sonic subcompact, that they claim will reduce emissions while still maintaining the quality paint finish of a new car. The process will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 80,000 metric tons a year, which is equivalent to removing 14,000 vehicles off the road. It will also reduce the amount of solvent emissions by about 108,000 pounds per year.
Chevrolet's "three-wet" process boasts new technology that allows for all three layers of the paint materials - primer, paint, and clear coat - to all be applied on top of each other while still wet, eliminating the need to 'bake' the car in an oven after the primer stage. In addition to reducing the Orion Assembly Plant paint shop's carbon footprint by 10 percent, it also gets rid of the baking oven, freeing up floor space. Chevrolet also says that this process extends the life of the paint's glossy sheen "years beyond the purchaser's final car payment."
The paint manager at General Motors' Orion plant Mauricio Pincheira said "Cutting our greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our energy consumption were key to implementing our water-based 'three-wet' paint process. We want to provide a durable paint that impresses our first-time Sonic customers and maintain the tough environmental standards we have across the company." Orion's paint shop is said to use 50 percent less energy per vehicle, and is also heated by natural and landfill gas that emit fewer emissions than coal-fired boilers. This will also reduce Chevrolet's manufacturing costs by $40 per car.
Chevrolet Sonic production started in August, and is due to go on sale late next month.