Paint maker adds color to NAIAS Charity Preview

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

When auto executives cut the ceremonial opening ribbon at the 2016 North American International Auto Show’s Charity Preview next week, there will be added color to the black-tie affair.

The ribbon will be a special blue representing an all-new color from Axalta Coating Systems called “Brilliant Blue” – the company’s 2016 North American Automotive Color of the Year.

“This Brilliant Blue that you see is not going to look like any other OEM color,” said Axalta Color Marketing Manager Nancy Lockhart. “We try and take everything that we know and learn and can do, and make something very unique.”

Lockhart describes the color as a “beautiful, deep ocean blue” with a sparkling effect thanks to its high-chroma Vermeera technology includes a multilayer coating process.

The multi-billion dollar company sees the color as an emerging trend for the auto industry that was created following in-depth research into trends in pop culture, politics and numerous other current and cyclical events.

According to Axalta’s Global Automotive 2015 Color Popularity Report, blue increased in popularity to a total of 8 percent of 2015 vehicle sales in North America due to increasing use on sport utility and compact utility vehicles.

The company traditionally forecasts and creates colors to be used four years after their release, Lockhart said.

“There’s a lot of benchmarking and looking what’s all ready in the market, and how can you refresh customers,” she said. “Everybody wants to know what the trends are in the automotive industry so they are making a good purchase.”

Brilliant Blue is Axalta’s second North American Automotive Color of the Year, following the inaugural Radiant Red.

Axalta – presenting sponsor of the Charity Preview – was a part of chemical giant DuPont until being purchased by Carlyle Private Equity in 2013. That was followed by an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in November 2004.

The company, with sales of $4.4 billion in 2014, employs 12,800 people, including about 700 at two Metro Detroit facilities.

More than 13,000 people attended this 2015 NAIAS Charity Preview and helped to raise just over $5.3 million. Proceeds directly benefit a wide range of children’s charities that are making a positive impact in southeastern Michigan.

(313) 222-2504

NAIAS Charity Preview

Where and when: 6-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, at Cobo Center, 1 Washington Blvd., Detroit

Tickets: $400 per person ($390 tax deductible); visit or call (888) 838-7500

Musical guest: Huey Lewis and The News

Benefiting charities: Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan; Boys Hope Girls Hope Detroit; Children’s Center; Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation; Judson Center; March of Dimes Metro Detroit; Detroit PAL and DADA Charitable Foundation Fund