Axalta Media Day 2022: A Closer Look at Coating Technologies

Axalta Media Day 2022: A Closer Look at Coating Technologies

Axalta gave members of the collision repair media a tour of its new, 175,000-square-foot research and development facility.

On Wednesday, May 25, Axalta hosted a Media Day at its Global Innovation Headquarters in Philadelphia. After two years of having Media Day virtually and, prior to that, hosting at Axalta’s Customer Experience Center on the Hendricks Motorsports campus in Charlotte, N.C., for the first time the company invited members of the collision repair media to tour its new, 175,000-square-foot research and development facility, which opened in 2018.

Axalta’s History and Innovation

Representatives from the collision industry media show off the results of their lesson in pinstriping during Axalta Media Day.

The tour gave us a behind-the-scenes peek into the facility’s water- and solvent-borne coating labs, where scientists and technicians work to develop coatings that balance both looks and functionality. For instance, one issue that Axalta’s teams are constantly at work on is figuring out how to keep coatings from obstructing radar and LIDAR systems.

The tour also included a look in the facility’s “NASCAR Room,” which showcases Jeff Gordon’s famous rainbow paint scheme car as well as samples of the various coatings Axalta offers in the automotive, construction and industrial industries. In addition, Axalta also has a display of the company’s spectrometers dating back to the 1970s that showcases a long history of color matching technology.

U-POL Acquisition

After the tour, Steffen Apollo, brand manager for Axalta, gave us a business update on the company. Axalta’s most exciting news from late 2021 was the acquisition of U-POL. U-POL, founded in the U.K. in 1948, is a world leader in automotive refinish products, including filler, coatings, aerosols, adhesives and paint-related materials.

In looking at automotive body work from three stages — repair, refinish and customization/protection — Axalta feels that it has pretty well maxed out the capabilities on the “refinish” side of the market. However, where U-POL comes in to strengthen the brand is on the repair and customization/protection sides.

“U-Pol is changing us,” Apollo said. “It’s filling in some voids in Axalta.”

In particular, Apollo noted, U-POL’s aerosol products and aerosol manufacturing capabilities provide a huge boon to the company, as does its RAPTOR bedliner, a simple-to-use product that gives body shops that don’t specialize in applying bedliners the ability to add this type of protection on their own. As a result of this acquisition, U-POL and Axalta will now be able to offer a complete range of products to repair, refinish and customize vehicles.

New Nason Finishes

The next major announcement Axalta revealed was that Nason Finishes will release a new line of 55 concentrated toners for body shops/over-the-counter customers who currently use National Rule basecoat, single-stage topcoats and low-VOC single-stage topcoats.

The launch will debut in the U.S. later this year and will use a targeted release approach towards customers to help them gradually switch over to the new formula after using up their current stock of Nason products. However, Apollo noted that Axalta will not phase out the old Nason Finishes products right away even after the new products are released.


The final update of the day was a look at Axalta’s Global Automotive Color of the Year 2022: Royal Magenta, which is meant to deliver a new luxury look and tie in with the growing interest in autonomous vehicles.

This paint color announcement led to the final part of Media Day: a lesson in pinstriping with Paul Quinn, owner of Design Brilliance in Philadelphia. Axalta provided each media representative with a truck speed shape painted in Royal Magenta with U-POL’s Raptor liner applied on the “bed.” After instructing us on how to care for and hold the brushes, Quinn demonstrated pinstriping techniques and designs, then let us practice on plates before making our own designs on the speed shapes.

With that, the 2022 Axalta Media Day closed, but after packing in so many new activities, it was a fun and informative day for those who had both attended before and never attended at all.

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