PROGRESS and purposefulness are characterizing the automotive world’s color mood, according to paint maker BASF’s 2013 trend collection, “Making Headway,” which is predicting the positive outlook ahead.
“With new technologies, new models and new mobility concepts, a shift in values is on the horizon. In this context, green as the color of growth and a new beginning is playing a key role,” explained Mark Gutjahr, the head of design for Europe at BASF.
The company said its designers have already identified this color trend during its early stages last year, and it is now gaining ground. After more than one low-color decade in which black, silver, white and, more recently, brown have made their mark on the roads, the automotive landscape is now becoming more colorful, BASF said.
But interestingly, the fact that the green color range is becoming a popular car paintjob does not stem from its logical connection to ecology. The new greens that will be applied to cars in the coming three or four years are making a point of leaving their eco-image behind, according to BASF.
“We are not finding answers to questions about society’s value shift in a romanticizing ‘back to nature’ vision, but instead in intelligent solutions and technologies,” Gutjahr said.
In this context, green stands for new values such as straightforwardness, responsibility and individuality, as well as for harmony and balance, which are becoming increasingly important factors in society, the BASF exec noted.
The company added that global context is lending more importance to questions of individuality as green sets the trend for bold automotive colors and is reinforcing a move toward more color-based differentiation. On the other hand, BASF’s global design team has identified clear regional differences: Even if the green theme is globally relevant, its manifestations in Asia Pacific, North America and Europe are highly varied. For example, the design language in Europe is characterized by soberness and quality, which translates into colors in the portfolio that are balanced and detailed yet bold, BASF said.
It continued that while Europe is experiencing the quest for new values, Asia is leaning toward subtle but multifaceted automotive colors like vibrant pastels, which offset the gray of the big cities. In North America, clarity and directness characterize the colors, with the green-yellow range—including lemon—increasingly becoming popular.
BASF said the wide variety of the new greens also clearly demonstrates that automotive colors now have more room for flexibility, and that new effect categories and topics such as haptics and matte coatings will make this even more possible in the future.
According to Gutjahr, “new methods and pigments will allow us to implement innovations such as BASF’s new XSpark effect category,” where the use of new effect pigments ensures a striking glitter that makes a clearer, cleaner and more intensive impact.
“XSpark has a lot of potential. And it’s about time for us to have more color,” Gutjahr said.