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Nissan's Fluid Finish Smooths Out Scratches

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By Author: Rob Parker
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Getting and surviving the first ding or scratch on a new car's paint job is a rite of passage; one every car buyer has had to go through for decades. Now, however, Nissan has a way to put an end to that pain or at least to defer it until something truly major happens to your ride. For 2008, the Infiniti EX35 crossover will be the company's first model to ship with "fluid finish," a scratch-resistant and self-healing protective coating designed to protect the vehicle's paint.

Nissan first announced the development of the technology in 2005 when the system was called "scratch guard." It was developed in partnership with the Nippon Paint Company.
Nissan's original press release about the new finish predicted it would cut down on routine minor abrasions by approximately 80 percent. Initial "real world" tests were conducted in Japan with an X-Trail SUV with the paint being applied to the body, bumpers, and mirrors primarily.

The secret of the protective finish lies in a clearcoat layer that includes a proprietary resin with elasticity that should last for up to three years. The high-density mesh structure of the coating features both rigidity and softness, which together give the material the "bounce" or "flow" that allows it to be self-healing.

Practically, the resin prevents abrasions from extending to the bottom paint layers and also exhibits better water resistance. Beyond keeping the appearance of the car fresher, the fluid finish will save money on the costs of minor "touch-ups" in the first years of a car's life. As such, the fluid finish represents a major advancement in the use and viability of protective coatings.

Nissan is quick to point out that the process is not instant. Drivers should not expect to be able to literally watch an abrasion disappear before their eyes. Some scratches will be eliminated in a matter of hours while others may require several days. Numerous physical and environmental factors effect the speed of the healing process including the depth of the scratch and the air temperature.

In addition to the use of the revolutionary fluid finish protective coating, the 2008 Nissan Infiniti EX35 offers other technological innovations including the Around View Monitor, a system of four cameras to provide a "bird's eye view" of the vehicle. The Infinitis are also equipped with Lane Departure Prevention for enhanced safety. Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the Infiniti EX35 is approximately $38,710.

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