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Yeah, there is no need to go inside to remove the rails! The end caps do come off - have a look at this: http://accessories.volvocars.com/en...nt/VCC-151284-1/2012/all/all/default/V50 2012
Be aware that while the caps come off (very) easily, they don't generally go back on tightly unless you replace the little plastic locking buttons underneath. They lose the sharp edge and will allow the cover to lift up. It will make noise as it catches the wind and may fly off. So be sure to pick up some replacements all around.

BTW I believe that complete removal of the rails and their mounts does require dropping the headliner. But since you are only looking to paint the area, you won't need this. So don't be too hard on the shops. Bodywork estimates are pretty much always "by the book", even if the job isn't. Take them off yourself, THEN get an estimate.
 
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