National

Automobile wraps put new spin on paint jobs

by Satoshi Toi

Kyodo

Car owners are looking to color wrapping to breathe new excitement into their rides.

One of them is a 55-year-old executive at a Tokyo real estate company. He hired YMG1 Co. in May to change the colors of his three imported cars. His silver Mercedes-Benz turned pearl white, his Volvo was transformed from white to blue, and his Porsche ended up a matte black.

“In addition to protecting the original paint work, I can change the colors when I feel like it, just like changing clothes,” he said of the process. “The effect is so good you can’t tell they are film-wrapped.”

YMG1, which started changing the look of commercial vehicles with wraps, began offering the service to automobile owners five years ago. A choice of some 300 color wraps are available and include glossy, matte and metallic finishes.

The Tokyo-based company is able to wrap not only the bodies but the mirrors, bumpers and other curved sections as well, leaving them looking as if they were painted.

But YMG1 charges around ¥1.2 million to wrap a vehicle, and the effect lasts for an average of about three years.

“Color wrapping is a culture created in the United States and Europe, where people enjoy the originality of their cars,” said YMG1 President Kazushige Yamaga. “While the service is for wealthy people because of prices at present, we would like to make it available to ordinary people by training more wrapping technicians.”

Drivers can also change car colors by using S Design Rubber Spray paint from Doall Co. The rubber-based paint job lasts about six months and can be peeled off easily.

Doall sells 16 colors for ¥3,980 each. While the S Design Rubber Spray is good for partial painting, the Tokyo-based maker of auto accessories also offers the S Design Rubber Paint in eight colors for repainting the entire body.

People tend to buy cars in “widely accepted colors” with future trade-in deals in mind, a Doall official said. “Our paints enable them to paint cars in colors they like.”

With automakers releasing luxury cars in pink or sports cars with interchangeable exterior components, it appears likely that moves to showcase originality and individuality through vehicle wrapping are set to accelerate.

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