Most people assume that a brand new factory-fresh car comes with paint that’s in prefect or near-perfect condition. This is far from reality, for reasons I’ll explain below.
New cars typically arrive at a dealership with a protective white film which acts to protect it during transport from the factory. When the dealer preps the car — either for the showroom, the new-car lot, or for customer delivery — this protective film is removed. Then the car is washed and perhaps a wax or sealant is applied to the paint. Unfortunately, this is a very common point at which paint scratches may be introduced. The terms “Dealer-induced Scratches” and “Dealer-induced Swirls” are well-known among car detailers and enthusiasts alike.
However, this is by no means the FIRST opportunity for paint defects to occur. That protective film keeps various environmental fallout, rail dust, hard water spots, etc. from contaminating your new car. What it doesn’t protect from is handling of the car at transfer points during transport i.e., when the car is being loaded onto/into a rail car, then a ship (if the car is built in Europe, Japan, or Korea for example) then another rail car at the shipping port…and finally the car transport truck which takes it to the dealer. In short, the transport process provides plenty of opportunities for a vehicle’s body to sustain minor or even not-so-minor damage, which most people don’t even think about. Believe it or not, body repair facilities commonly exist at ports where high volumes of cars and trucks are offloaded — and vehicles are repaired on the spot.
In fact, some customers regularly inspect their new car for paint overspray upon delivery, which would give away any repairs that were made in transit from the factory to the dealer, or even upon delivery at the dealer itself. To be clear, paint overspray does not happen at the factory during manufacturing. Cars are sprayed as empty shells before being assembled to the powertrain, suspension, and interior. That’s not to say that factory paint is perfect: you can still have dust nibs or moderate-to-severe “orange peel” effect in the paint — but not overspray. Recently, a well-known and reputable high-end professional detailer made a YouTube video about a factory-fresh Porsche 911, demonstrating multiple paint defects even though its buyer requested that the car stay wrapped from the factory and not be “prepped”.
Certainly not all new-car buyers would expect to spend additional time & money to correct their car’s paint as soon as they take delivery. However, for those who are on the obsessive side, or who have just spent significant money on a luxury or exotic vehicle, many will want their new pride & joy to look as perfect as it should.