Future car colors inspired by Midwest homes, landscape, BASF says

Samples of some of the colors that BASF sees emerging in a few years on display at the supplier's "Under the Radar" show in Detroit this week.

Photo credit: KATHLEEN BURKE
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Future cars and light trucks will sport more sparkling oranges and browns, soft blues and greens, and pearly whites and grays -- all inspired by the clear skies, lush lawns and warm homes found in the nation’s heartland -- according to trend spotters at BASF Corp.’s automotive coatings divisions.

Paul Czornij, technical manager for the BASF Color Excellence group, said colors that emanate from nature and technology will take over more and more automotive exteriors in coming years.

After evaluating political and economic news, trends in interior design, environmental concerns and technological developments, BASF determined that “the unpretentiousness of the Midwest is trending in America, people are returning to their places of birth,” Czornij said Wednesday at the company’s “Under the Radar” color trend show in Detroit.

The top emerging colors identified for North America are light blue, rusty orange, light green, dark silver and sparkling brown.

Czornij said bold reds and blues also will reflect an emerging societal confidence. He said BASF also is experimenting with adding texture to its exterior colors, which could be used on select parts of a vehicle.

“We’re doing for the exterior what has been done for the interior,” he said.

The current trend of “making whites whiter” will turn toward more pearly and subdued tones, Czornij said.

Some of the trends, noted in a hanging display, that BASF said will influence color choice starting in 2018.

Photo credit: KATHLEEN BURKE

In its outlook for 2016-17 models, PPG Industries sees similar natural tones emerging, as well as a vibrant purple to reflect post-recession opulence.

White, black, gray and silver are the most popular light-vehicle colors today in North America and are expected to remain prevalent, suppliers say.

In Asia Pacific, BASF determined bright blues, oranges and reds, as well as silver-whites will emerge, while automotive exteriors in Europe will feature dark violet, blues and greens and matte grays.

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