Progress and purposefulness are characterizing the automotive world’s color mood. The colors in this year’s BASF trend collection entitled “Making Headway” are predicting this 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, Head of Design Europe at BASF.
BASF designers already identified this color trend in 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 made their mark on the roads, the automotive landscape is now becoming more colorful.
Green leaving its eco-image behind
The fact that the green color range is securing its position in the automotive future does not stem from its logical connection to ecology and the image of pristine nature. 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. “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,” so Gutjahr. 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.
Global trend with regional colors
The global context is lending ever more importance to questions of individuality. Green is setting the trend for bold automotive colors and is reinforcing a move toward more color-based differentiation. On the other hand, in its research, 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. The design language in Europe is characterized by soberness and quality, which translates into colors in the portfolio which are balanced and detailed yet bold. Dark green and emeralds exhibit highly intricate structures and moderately used effects. Rich greens are refined by golden highlights. While Europe is experiencing the quest for new values, in Asia, topics such as nature, relaxation and harmony have a strong impact on this color range. In Asia, subtle but multifaceted automotive colors are anticipated. For instance, vibrant pastels serve to offset the gray of the big cities. The wide range of the trend color is clearly demonstrated by the color portfolio in North America. Clarity and directness characterize the colors used there. In addition, the green-yellow color range is playing an increasingly important role with colors such as ‘lemon’.
Time for more color
The wide variety of the new greens also clearly demonstrates that automotive colors now have more room for flexibility. New effect categories and topics such as haptics and mat coatings will make this even more possible in the future. At the same time, they will also pose new requirements, in terms of both technology and design. Gutjahr recognizes the opportunity afforded by the complexity. “New methods and pigments will allow us to implement innovations such as BASF’s new ‘XSpark’ effect category.” Here, the use of new effect pigments ensures a striking glitter that makes a clearer, cleaner and more intensive impact than all previous effects. The distinct sparkle is particularly effective in light, which has an elegant impact without being overbearing. “XSpark has a lot of potential,” explained Gutjahr, sharing his positive view of the future. “And it’s about time for us to have more color!”