BASF Automotive Color Trend Report

Paint is not all that exciting, hence the phrase, "like watching paint dry." This means that automotive paint suppliers don't usually have much to talk about, outside of the annual silver-is-the-most-popular-car-color press releases that get picked up by every media outlet on Earth. This one, however, is a bit different.

BASF Automotive Coatings releases an annual automotive color trend report, one that tries to predict what colors will be the most popular, some five years from now. This year's verdict is heavy on so-called "natural" colors like browns, greens and blues. These earth tones will be joined by "berry" and copper shades in the automotive color palette of the future, according to BASF.

If you're thinking this sounds like a return to the Porsche color scheme of the 1970's, you're on the right track. Further reinforcing the notion that the next wave of cars might more resemble those of the Me Generation is this point: BASF says that China's importance in the global auto market is influencing it to develop "various shades of gold." Which makes us wonder if perhaps some other division of BASF might be working on reinventing the Eight-Track tape.

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BASF releases global automotive color trend report

Green, bronze, brown go beyond the silver trend; 'naturally cultivated' berry and copper tones ahead


SOUTHFIELD, MI, July 26, 2012 -- Designers from BASF Automotive Coatings have announced the results of its latest automotive color trend report. In the report, BASF color experts from North America, South America, Europe and Asia provide a forecast of the automotive colors of the future.

Results from this year's report show future colors will be "naturally cultivated" with nuanced berry and copper tones, along with natural colors such as brown, blue and green.

"Although popular staple colors such as silver, black and white make up approximately 50 to 80 percent of current production, there is a rich diversity of potential shades that is returning to the market," said Paul Czornij, Technical Manager for the BASF Color Excellence group. "The increasing inclination of society to celebrate beauty in earth tones and more traditional green and blue hues is the basis for this trend."

In recent years, the color green has not played much a role on the roads, yet in four to five years, the color is predicted to become more popular. Similarly, white, silver, and gray will gradually wane in popularity at the expense of more saturated colors like blues and browns.

"There are signs from automakers and consumers that the desire for more color on the roads is continuing. We will be tapping into further color spaces, such as bronzes and emeralds," says Mark Gutjahr, Head of Design for BASF in Europe. "The continued high value assigned to the notion of ecology may now again be signified by the color green."

New diversity
The topic of sustainability continues to be on the radar, attracting attention to not only the environment, but also the everyday world. Finding novel ways to use materials, simplify lifestyles and have a closer focus on daily experiences are the main inspirations for this trend.

"The innovation that arises from this mindset nurtures a stronger awareness for things great and small, which in turn raises social responsibility," said Czornij. "Colors are being developed that evoke this sense of purpose, stretching the aforementioned blue, green and browns into both strong and subtle tones."

Materials that can be experienced
Modern communication technologies are triggering huge changes. Setting the tone are phenomena such as the increasing "dematerialization" of technology. In the future, technology will be less tangible in a haptic sense, and instead will be increasingly more intuitive. For example, smart phones use a touch display instead of a keypad.

"We are observing new narrative and haptic qualities in many areas. Heavy substances, striking surfaces and expressive materials such as wood and stone create a stronger emotional connection to the world we live in. In the automotive world, this means that we can expect more intensive colors and bolder effects," said Corinna Sy, Designer at BASF Coatings Europe. "The new colors are expressive, but not blatant, like a good story."

With dark berries, intensive browns and coppers, along with radiant emeralds, BASF designers anticipate powerful color experiences on the roads.

Global team - China
Carmakers are working and thinking globally. For this reason, BASF's design team has a global presence, sounding out international trends without ignoring regional features or color trends. In order to acknowledge the increasing significance of the Chinese automotive industry, and specifically the local manufacturers, the designers have included special colors, such as various shades of gold, in their trend collection.

The colors developed for China demonstrate the ability of BASF's Design Team to utilize its colorant tools and paint technology to span the range of bold blues to elegant browns, golds and grays. This reflects to the local market and its evolution to more interest in colors as an expression of self. The vivid hues support these trends and are balanced with metallic effects that bring increased prominence to this growing segment.