My local paint shop tells me that 2003 white Toyotas have no clear coat. This may also be the case with red and black Toyotas. Is this true? If so, is Toyota planing to do anything about it?
Why? I don’t understand the reason for the question, or what it is that Toyota would have to do something about. There is no mandate that all paints require clear coat or reason why they all should.
There’s still a coat or two of sealers over the base coat, just not the thick-looking clear shiny coat. It’s purely an aestetic thing-- I’m guessing that certain colors just look funny with a clear coat. If you want shiny, you can always wax your car!
I am told that clear coat protects the finish and keeps that shiny look. Why would the manufacturer put it on some models and not all?
Whoever told you that is incorrect. Different types and colors present different finishes and levels of protection. Simply the amount, type, and color of pigment can have an effect. Some colors fade and oxidize differently from others because of the makeup of the paint.
A visit to the PPG automotive paints website might provide more info.
Truthfully, why would a manufacturer bother to put a clear coat over white paint? Since white paint NEVER has the depth of other automotive paints, it would be rather silly to go to the extra cost of putting a clear coat over white paint. As to the other colors that you mentioned, I would guess that the black and the red paints do have a clear coat over them, but that is just a guess.
Remember that clear coat is a fairly new addition to automotive paint technology, and as mountainbike stated, the composition of various automotive paints will be different, given the nature of each color and whether it is a metallic finish or not. Clear coat should be considered neither standard nor a God-given right.