The Mission Of GM’s Blue Suit Crew Is A Perfect Paint Finish21
Outside of a vehicle’s exterior design, it’s highly likely that the color is the most noticeable and memorable. And while paining a vehicle might be seen as mundane and commonplace, the process is anything but, involving an intricate chemical operation necessitating constant scientific monitoring.
At General Motors, members of the “Blue Suit Crew” adhere to painstaking precautions to ensure that final vehicle paint finishes are pristine. For instance, many ordinary items of personal hygiene, including lotion, cologne, hair spray, deodorant and silicon, are prohibited in GM paint shops “because their mere presence can cause the new paint to contaminate the paint”, according to the automaker. In addition, paint shop employees are continuously on the lookout for sources of paint contamination, searching for clues and hunting down potential contaminants.
“The process of painting a vehicle properly is much harder than the average person would assume,” said Anton Busuttil, paint shop area manager at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant in Lake Orion, Michigan. “We have many different factors that we have to be cognizant of at all times”. “The weather – including temperature and humidity – is one of those major factors over which we have no control.”
The Blue Suit Crew’s ultimate goal is a perfect finish.
“There are precise stages each vehicle goes through in order to leave GM’s paint shop with phenomenal colors,” Busuttil said. “The vehicles are prepped, dipped in treatment, and sprayed with PVC antichip material, primer, base coat and finally clear coat. The vehicles are then checked to ensure they are in compliance in terms of quality, if they meet expectations they are sent to General Assembly to continue the build process.”
Browse the gallery below to see steps of GM’s vehicle paint process, and think about it the next time you drive or see a GM vehicle.
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No offense but some of the Camaros we see from the factory have HORRIBLE paint jobs, especially what we call inferno orange peel. Hopefully GM recognizes that it needs to step up in the paint category.
Mike — could you go into a bit more detail as to the kinds of things you’re referring to with the paint jobs on the Camaros?
It’s not just the Camaros, it’s all GM vehicles.
The paint quality on GM vehicles is mediocre at best… One of my pet peeves is when they use white primer under dark paints like black. Every scratch or ding is visible a mile away.
The Camaro is getting a new plant with a new paint system so that should not be an issue much longer.
My Terrain was perfect in the area of paint. No defects and dirt.
The paint shop that its painted in today is the newest technology GM has and is only 5 years old, so I don’t think that moving the Camaro to a different paint shop is going to make a difference, it’s painted where the new Impala, XTS , Regal, Equinox, and Implala Classic
What paint shop is the malibu painted in?
I hear that GM is requiring all body shops to go waterborne. When is this in effect? And what will that mean to the new cars coming out?
12 under paint dirt flecks in my GMC Canyon! Freaking 12 how did that pass inspection? Also have clear coat peeling on my roof. It is A WEEK OLD!!!!!
Hi I own a new zo6 corvette and the paint quality is low grade, it scratches if you look at it the wrong way.Take a brand new clothe out of the bag to polish and it scratches. In my years ive painted a few cars and not one scratches like this paint. What are they using ?
Bought my Cruze 2.0CTD in Nov/2015. Build Apr/’15.
The day I brought it home I noticed the paint “felt” thin (car-guys will know what Im talking about), even compared to other GM models. Sure enough several local body and detail shops complain about the thin paint on the Cruze models. Some claim new process, new chemicals and other claim “so the dealers can upsell paint protection film”.
I have calloused, rough hands. Within a month the paint on my matched door handles is wearing down.
I was and wax frequently, garage it, and baby it (first New car in 20yrs).. Even found a pinhole rust spot on the trunk deck-lid. Dealership says the wear is “Normal”, and nothing to worry about. Normal? Forgive me, but when is paint wearing off within a month normal?
Even with the myriad of other issues Ive had, I love this car… Though Id question my GM loyalty if I had to repaint it in 5 years.
I have a 2015 Silverado black Z71 the doors and front fenders have orange peel in the black I do not think it’s in the clear coat rough hood and rear fender seem okay clay Barnette that’s why I noticed it all it still looks good
my husband and myself have looked at many 2018 GMC Terrains over the past few months. Every vehicle that we have looked at have orange peel texture on the paint that is noticeable. Very disappointed because we like this vehicle but I am not buying a car with orange peel. The white is the least noticeable but you can still see it when you look down the sides. We have been to several GMC dealerships in Kentucky and surrounding areas and they all look the same regardless of location.
I’m a body shop owner, and presently working on a 2014 Cadillac xrs sedan. I repaired a door, but when I began feathering, there was a “topcoat” over the original paint. The car has only 11,000 miles, and the owner is the original owner and tells me the car has never been worked on. This topcoat won’t feather; I could only cover it with many coats of primer. It’s not a vinyl sticker, but almost seems like it. What’s the deal? Are they spraying some kind of protective coat on these cars now????
I have owned Fords since 2001 but recently bought a 2018 GMC Yukon with black paint. I love the look, V8 engine and solid rear axle for towing, but it has the softest clear coat I have ever seen. You barely touch it and it scratches. I put 3 coats of wax on but the bugs left marks on paint. I think this is a huge problem. For as much as these vehicles cost the paint should be better. I never had a problem with all of the different Ford’s I owned. Please fix this GM or you will lose a customer. There is no reason this paint has to be this soft.
I am a loyal gm customer have been my whole life my family also. With that said I purchased a 2018 chevy Express I ordered and waited for when it came in the whole van is a different color all the way around the color is supposed to be silver metallic. The dealer I purchased it from is painting the whole van for me but that’s not the point quality control needs to be stepped up if not it will cost gm a lot of sales .just doesn’t make sense to spend that much money for that nonsense gm get it together.
2015 equinox with paint peel and orange peel,. The back tailgate has rust blisters and bubbling paint. One chunk fell off and now i have a bullet hole size rust stain to the bare metal. Failure paint job in the 21st century.
I have a 2015 Chevy 1500. The paint is bubbling up then flies off when you wash it (no not power wash, just scrubbing). I’m guessing the primer comes off too because it has the appearance of bare metal where it peels off. The paint has also worn off on the drivers side literally just from where my feet hit getting in and out of the vehicle. I had always had F-150’s this was my first go with a Chevy, so disappointed. My trailer has a better longer lasting paint job!
Should I even mention the Express Van, what good is a perfect paint job if it ends up blowing off while you’re driving, and GM takes no ownership of this , if this was any other car company no doubt they would have been recalls
I Purchased a 2020 Black Tahoe Premier 10 months ago. My Vehicle was made at the Arlington Texas site. My uncle was an electrical supervisor at the old Wilmington DE plant in the paint shop. He would be embarrassed of the quality put out by the Arlington plant. 2 months after i purchased the new Tahoe the rear tailgate had to be repainted. Visible bubbles at the seems had to be repaired. This was covered under warranty. Now the front bumper you can see specs of white on the paint. Either not enough coats applied or somehow overspray got on the bumper. I requested the dealer look at the bumper and correct it. The dealer came back and said the service manager stated “it meets GM paint specs”. Seriously! I purchased the vehicle from Diver Chevrolet in Wilmington DE. I spent ~80K for this car and i expect perfection at that price! I asked the service manager how can i escalate this to get this repaired? His response “call corporate”
If anyone could provide any advice on how or who i need to contact it would be much appreciated.
Express van has paint literally sheeting off at highway speed. Hood, both rear doors, and both sides, eventually the van will be all metal. No evidence of primer. Dealer has no interest in a fix. Sad statement for customer service.