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BASF Coatings Issues New Color Trend Forecast for the next Three to Six years, to help Car Owners stay up-to-date

Published on 2006-03-15. Author : SpecialChem

Muenster/Tokyo/Southfield -- Car buyers who want to stay up-to-date when choosing the color of their cars in the next few years will opt for striking, mixed colors that defy the definition of classic color. Instead of traditional green, blue or gray, new trend-setting colors may be described by terms like "petrol-gray," "greige" (a blend of gray and beige) or "greenish blue." The full chromatic spectrum of such "hybrid" colors often reveals itself only under particular light conditions. Hints of turquoise may give blue a mysterious glow, while a delicate, pearly gloss may subtly infuse a pale green-gray. Viewers will be intrigued by surprising effects and color ambiguities that deliberately tease their perceptions. This approach to color was described by the designers at BASF Coatings--Michaela Finkenzeller, Sandra Mathia (North America) and Eiji Fujimori (Asia/Pacific)--at the presentation of the traditional, annual color trend forecast of BASF Coatings. Apart from colors and effects, the tactile quality of car surfaces is becoming increasingly important for car buyers. In the future, car surfaces will feature even greater differentiation than today - for example, high gloss, matte or a combination of both.

Designer of BASF Coatings: Michaela Finkenzeller

Car color forecasts are developed by BASF Coatings in close collaboration and consultation with designers in the global automobile industry. Experience shows that the new car colors being developed today will enter production within three to six years--that is, beginning in 2009 or 2010.

BASF's color experts study color trends in three major regions of the world: Europe, North America and the Asia/Pacific region. While all three regions have historically shared an affinity for some colors, they can differ widely in overall trends.

Trends in Europe

In Europe, silver will remain popular, but will continue to evolve. In small and subtle tonal steps, the new silver will move in more colorful directions. Warm, pearly variations of silver will blur the boundaries between silver and beige. The desire for changes in the standard color range opens the door to new, classy interpretations that fall between silver and blue. Here, too, the new mid-tones--or hybrid colors--will make inroads.

In addition, silver will be complemented by other metal-like colors--such as copper, bronze, gold and platinum--that will give car bodies an entirely new metallic glow. A sense of class and elegance will now be conveyed by a wider range of colors, helping to fulfill customers' growing desire for individuality.

As a car increasingly becomes a comfort zone and place of refuge for "urban nomads," warm tones and calming colors that appeal to a desire for well-being and comfort, such as those in the beige to brown range, will become more popular.

New and innovative effects will further enhance the brown, beige and "precious metal" colors of the future, creating novel color impressions, often requiring a second look to fully reveal the nuances of the car's finish. Red will move to a much more prominent position among color favorites. Buyers will look for purity, depth and sporty effects in reds, but they will also be drawn to more fashionable tints in the coral range.

Back to essentials

White, the ultimate expression of purist style and aesthetic straightforwardness, is becoming increasingly popular. Sophisticated and unambiguous, white is a color that helps clarify the language of the car's form.

White with a pearly shimmer and special effects will remain a primary design objective, but uniform whites in new shades will further enrich this family of colors.

No fear of touching

The interplay between color and special effects determined the design of the outer skins of automobiles over the past few decades. Paint technologies of the future, however, will offer a broader sensual experience than just a visual one. Matte and "soft touch" effects will provide a tactile experience and a completely new point of access to the automobile as an icon of technology, encouraging people to touch and caress the car's finish. But for every trend, there is a counter-trend. In contrast to clear matte colors, there is a trend toward mirror effects and pure reflection. The two extremes, however, do not exclude each other, but open up new possibilities for combining materials, colors and surfaces in the automobile's interior as well as on its exterior. Bright, discreetly tinted intermediate tones of silver will be most popular in this application, and perfectly matched two-colored surfaces will underscore the play of contrasts.

Trends in North America

Saturated pastels that offer a gentle lushness filled with color are predicted to be the new mid-tone colors in the foreseeable future. Green, a mixture of yellow and blue primary colors, will become a staple in the industry, continuing to reinvent itself in new shades and variations, a trend that is already seen in couture, home interiors and in muted to brightly colored cars. Orange is shifting toward copper tones, while deep browns, seen in dark rich wooden floors and furnishings, will continue to reflect the strong influence of colors associated with nature.

Fresh-water blue and blue-greens approaching turquoise will keep growing in popularity for sporty applications, while luxury blues will trend toward the dark-red side. High-end and luxury vehicles will be enhanced with the introduction of dark, rich blood-reds, while fire red will remain highly popular for sporty cars.

Tinted blacks and shades of white, with glitter effects and so-called color travel, represent the opposite extreme from such solid classics as uniform white and black. We can expect silver, with its evocation of high technology, to remain a popular choice. Standard silver tones will be reinvented, however, with the addition of fluid tints and colors, lending a new and more colorful aura to traditional silver.

Trends in the Asia/Pacific Region

Four trends are currently influencing color tones in Asia and the Pacific region.

The first trend is colors associated with a lifestyle of health and sustainability--colors such as green, brown and blue, which are associated with forests, the sky, water, environmental awareness and the health boom.

The second trend is classy and gorgeous colors associated with maturity. These are moderate, nuanced and muted colors such as champagne gold and dark, rich colors. A slight golden highlight is often effective in evoking a sense of class.

The third trend is expressed by futuristic colors such as white and silver, and by neutral colors such as black.

With the fourth trend, the focus is on colors oriented toward textures, such as liquid metallics or mattes, a new category that will grow even more in importance.

Red is an expression of energy. Translucent yellowish reds are reminiscent of tea, and bluish reds will dominate the important dark, deep, rich reds in the near future.

Copper and brown will play a significant role in car color. The popularity of orange is enjoying its peak today, so to be in line with current and future trends, designers will expand the range of orange to include variations such as copper, which is in between red and orange, as well as beige and brown tones.

Sporty yellow tones are growing in popularity, but designers have to be careful with yellow, because if it is too garish, its use for cars becomes limited.

Green-blue and green is the most important range of colors.
These hues bring environmental awareness to mind and evoke a feeling of calm and fulfillment. Designers will rely on variations of green, such as the color of green tea, and will experiment with a wide color range, from yellowish green to blue-green.

Blue, a color that everyone likes, also has the greatest depth. Blues are broadly divided into blue-greens and slightly purplish blues. Any shade of blue, from pale to deep tones, is simply beautiful and is hard to miss, and designers will experiment with a wide palette of blue variations.

Shiny purple tones with shades of dark red are also gaining attention. Over time, purple has become more popular and consumers are getting used to it. Designers will be more adventurous, trying out slightly sexier tones of purple and experimenting by combining purple with interference colors or so-called traveling colors.

Black will remain a popular color, but designers will try out color combinations that go beyond the ordinary. Experimentation with color tones will keep black from becoming too stark for the eye.

Even though their popularity has already peaked, silver hues will still play a leading role in car design. Designers will vary the effect by using dark silvers or colored silvers. In addition, they will continue to work with silver in various textures, such as liquid metallics and matte finishes.

In Japan, white is the second most important color after silver. It is an all-purpose color that has always been a favorite because it communicates a feeling of purity, and there is no end in sight for the white color trend. However, designers will continue to experiment with whites that are faintly colored or that look even whiter than whites of the past.

BASF : A major international player in coatings

BASF Coatings AG belongs to the global Coatings Division of the BASF Group. In 2005 the Coatings Division achieved world sales of about 2.2 billion euros. The Coatings Division develops, produces and markets a high-quality range of innovative automotive OEM coatings, automotive refinishes and industrial coatings as well as decorative paints, and also the processes needed to apply them. In this business, eco-efficient water-based, powder and high-solids coatings as well as radiation-curable systems play a special part. In Brazil, the company has been successful in the decorative paints market for years and holds the leading position. BASF has a major, global presence in the Coatings sector, with significant market positions in Europe, North America, South America and the Asia/Pacific region, for example with affiliates in Australia, China, India, Japan, and the Philippines.

Source: BASF

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