Unique water-based ‘three-wet’ process cuts emissions on Chevrolet Sonic

General Motors has begun using a new eco-friendly paint technology on the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic.

A “three-wet” paint is a water based process that takes out the drying step in between paint layers, so the vehicle only needs to go through the bake oven process once, at the end.

Cutting its carbon footprint by 10 percent the Orion Assembly Center saves space and lowers energy requirements for heating and cooling. Mauricio Pincheira, Orion’s paint manger says “Cutting our greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our energy consumption were key to implementing our water-based ‘three-wet’ paint process. We want to provide a durable paint that impresses our first-time Chevrolet Sonic customers and maintain the tough environmental standards we have across the company.”

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The paint technique is being used with increased frequency across the globe, although this is its first usage in the U.S. Color and shine are expected to be extremely durable and long lasting.

Once the process is fully implemented, manufacturing costs will be cut by about $40 per unit and trims greenhouse gas emissions by 80,000 metric tons per year.

Refresher: The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is available in a sedan and hatchback variant. The standard engine on the 2012 Sonic is a 1.8L DOHC inline 4-cylinder unit making 135-hp and 125 lb-ft of torque, while an optional 138-hp 1.4L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder is also available. Prices start at $14,495 for the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LS Sedan ($15,395 for the Chevrolet Sonic LS Hatchback), which is powered by a 1.8L Ecotec making 128-hp. Prices top out at $17,295 for the LTZ Sedan and $17,995 for the LTZ Hatchback. Prices start at $14,495.

– By: Alexandra Koken