Report: Blue the new black for future car colors

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Southfield — Blue is the new black. And white has run its course and will play a less prominent role in exterior car colors in five years.

That’s according to an annual report from international automotive paint supplier BASF Coatings. The company predicts the revitalization of urban environments — specifically Detroit — is inspiring brighter and more varied exterior automobile colors in North America for the 2019 model year.

“There’s a sort of resilience and optimism that really permeates throughout the community, throughout the individual that ties into the technology and it’s all being done more optimistically here,” said Paul Czornij, technical manager for the BASF Color Excellence group, during a media event Friday in Southfield. “(Designers) really liked this sort of emerging Detroit — coming up from the ashes like a Phoenix bird.

“We were inspired by the RAWness of that.”

This year’s color trend report is themed “RAW” — standing for “Real Authentic Ways.” The theme came after BASF color designers from Asia, Europe and United States met in Detroit to discuss emerging color trends.

The 2015-2016 Color Collection features 65 global automotive paint colors for 2019 and beyond, including 20 for North America. North American colors range from “Perforated,” a deep red, woven with golds that are “warm, glowing and radiating effects” to “Bucket O’ Blu,” a rich blue with a focus on water that “releases a powerful and beautiful energy.”

“We think that saturated colors, very strong, deep saturated colors — especially on the blue side — are going to take on more and more prominence,” Czornij said.

Other colors for North America include “Golden Cavalcade,” a luminous gold that “reflects the resurgence of powerful cities like Detroit”; “Spectator,” a polished, brighter silver; and “Downpour,” a strong blue-green designed to mimic the look of rain.

The annual report is based on research and trends in pop culture, politics and other current and cyclical events.

“Pop culture is very important,” Czornij said. “The Oscars a few years ago had all of the stars pull up in small hybrid vehicles and that kicked off a huge surge in the popularity of hybrid vehicles. People want to follow a trend, but they also want to be individuals and express themselves in a very unique fashion. You try to find the balance.”

Another focus in this year’s color trends is the importance of the baby boomer generation. In the past, people age 55 and older have been somewhat overlooked in terms of color trend prediction. This year they played a larger, more influential role. More playful, neutral colors were included in the predictions as a result.

Czornij said while the auto industry has targeted Millennials recently, they have not had the impact on the industry like the Baby Boomers, who have “the most power” to impact the industry.

“We typically associate the 55-plus with bland colors, and they’re actually working to redefine themselves,” he said. “They want something different, they want something exciting and they want to put their cash where they can express themselves in an investment like a car.”

Last year’s color trend report predicted exterior vehicle colors for the 2018 model year will be inspired by the scenic, calm environment of the Midwest and Rust Belt cities that are reinventing themselves following the recession.

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