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Welcome to the forum!

Sorry to hear about your paint frustrations. Couple things to note here:

  • All manufacturers are using thinner paints to save on production costs, so it's not just Mazda, but I will admit that Mazda seems to be using the thinnest.
  • If the chips are bad enough, send photos to Mazda. There have been several people (my parents with their Cx9 included) who had it bad enough that Mazda actually gave them a free re-paint of the whole front end.
  • As much as you're not going to like hearing this, 95% of chips on your front end come as a result of you following people too closely. At highway speeds, if you remain an adequate distance away from cars/trucks, the amount of chips goes down drastically.
 

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Maybe I should visit the Mercedes / Audi / BMW forums... but my sense is that owners of those cars (recent models with water-borne paint) don't seem to be complaining...
German vehicles are typically coated slightly thicker than Asian/American vehicles being around 100 - 150 microns where Mazda/Honda/Toyota/Ford are anywhere between 70 and 100 microns, where Mazda tends to stay at the lower end of those numbers. So while Mazda does have a slightly thinner paint (on average) than most other manufactures, the key difference is that it seems they don't change this thickness throughout the exterior like most other manufacturers do.

Most manufacturers, from what I can find, vary the thickness depending on the part it's applied to, for added protection. However, Honda and Toyota don't alter theirs much, and I can't see it being the determining factor of how many chips a paint receives.

I still say that driving behind cars too closely results in the vast majority of your scrapes/nicks and, at highway speeds, the difference of 10 - 20 microns isn't going to matter. Could Mazda prevent some of the chips by adding slightly more thickness to vulnerable parts? Absolutely. But could the driver prevent even more by staying back when possible? Absolutely.
 
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