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BASF presents 2018-2019 Automotive Color Trends

Glasurit develops refinish solutions for the color trends of tomorrow

In June, BASF's designers presented their new color trend collection for the automotive industry. “Keep it Real” shows the colors that will encounter the zeitgeist of tomorrow. While it will still take a while until the new automotive colors are used for OEM production, BASF's Glasurit brand is already working today to ensure that a perfect refinishing solution is available in time for the production launch.

The need to stay authentic in a world where technology continues to blur the lines between reality and artificiality is the driving force behind the BASF’s 2018-2019 Automotive Color Trends theme – “Keep it Real”.

As innovations such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and robotic industrialization take hold, the return to the human element – people’s needs and emotions – becomes increasingly important. The designers at BASF’s Coatings division have translated these observations into a collection of 65 colors for automotive surfaces.

Dark colors, blue hues and complex effects represent the omnipresence of technology

Advancements in digitalization make technology become less visible and more intertwined with reality. Augmented reality applications and smart gadgets that simplify everyday life merge the real with the digital world. People seem to spend more time on online platforms, striving for perfection on social media, than in the real world. This omnipresence of technology is reflected in the Automotive Color Trends. Shades of gray and blue are the focal point of the collection. Achromatic colors are combined with complex effects that add colorful and natural accents and represent the merging of reality and the virtual world. Blue hues – mirroring the color of screens and digital light – appear as strong saturated colors. Natural textures and color effects symbolize the search for human qualities in a virtual world. 

Shifting functions – new mobility concepts influence color choices

Car sharing concepts, ride hailing services and autonomous driving will shift a car’s function from a personally-owned object to a more public mode of transportation. For cars that are designed for sharing, color palletes with universal appeal will play a significant role. The trend collection shows how elaborate textures and intricate effects can make each color truly unique.

In addition, BASF addresses future mobility with its ongoing development of functional colors. Select colors in the collection feature a paint system that mitigates heat buildup on the vehicle surface, which reduces the rise of the temperature inside the car. Further innovations include colors with state-of-the-art functionality that increase reflectivity for enhanced LiDAR detectability – a technology used to measure speed and distance – without compromising their aesthetic appeal.

EMEA – Life in urban spaces

In the EMEA region the use of urban spaces is changing, with real places becoming more significant in metropolitan areas. This is reflected in innovative design concepts for semi-public spaces such as shops, museums and restaurants. The product becomes less important while the space itself turns into an experience. It invites digital nomads to sit down and stay a while. At the same time, the question of how to attract attention in the face of so many virtual offerings arises. What is worth looking up from the smartphone for? One answer may be architectural elements that are rough and in some cases evoke archaic impressions. Instead of creating an atmosphere of comfort and luxury, forms and materials are increasingly displaying straight edges.

These trends are reflected in the color range for EMEA. Gray nuances stand for urbanity. Combined with haptic effects, they build on the significance of what can be experienced for real. The off-white “Grand Blanc”, with its rough texture and its associations with concrete, alludes to life in urban spaces. Effect particles included in the clearcoat accentuate the special nature of a car as an emotional product. “The Urbanist”, as a dark gray, metallic anthracite, represents the blending of humans and technology. The pronounced metallic effect creates unanticipated reflections and conjures up the desire for attention.

Asia Pacific – Quest for quality in the real life

People in the Asia Pacific region have an ambivalent relationship with technology. They freely give their personal data to companies that make everyday life more convenient and embrace emotional bonds to machines with artificial intelligence. At the same time a desire for human and real-life contacts and experiences reshapes public spaces in the cities. Gray Ambivalence, a glaring metallic gray, stands for the integration of high performance technology in everyday life. It is balanced by a solid flop that connects to the real world.

North America – Expanding color horizons

The dismantling of public heroes makes room for new idols. Flaws are accepted as part of human nature and diversity is celebrated. A new enthusiasm for science and especially space travel draws attention to faraway worlds. The connection of the real and virtual world as well as the relationship of earth and space is captured in BASF’s key color in North America, Atomium Sky: a deeply saturated blue with a medium coarseness that transitions to a softer, semi-opaque hue in longer grazing angles. The color exudes playfulness and demonstrates a futuristic spirit and forward-thinking mindset. This is the second consecutive year that BASF has selected blue as its key color in North America, which is a result of its growing prominence in the region.

South America – Transformation of classic color spaces

The colors for South America offer a visual connection to the diversity of the region. Two of the most popular color spaces in the automotive market – black and white – are transformed into elegant, eclectic coatings for cars. Coriolis Force, the region’s key color, reflects the preservation and respect of traditional crafts and knowledge handed down over generations. The dark hue exudes a luxurious effect, which is created by using a reddish-gold flake. Under a strong light source, it creates a genuine aesthetic for the region.

From the trend to the perfect refinish solution

BASF’s color trend collection provides carmakers with the information they need about what color worlds and effects will meet the zeitgeist of the near future. This is important, because carmakers use new colors to lend their new models an unmistakable appearance – one that will be well received by potential buyers in three to five years. That’s how long it takes for the colors to appear on the roads. During this time, under strict quality management, the colors are refined in collaboration with the carmakers until they are ready for OEM application.

As BASF's premium brand with excellent ties to automotive manufacturers, Glasurit is always up-to-date about all of the development steps. This close involvement enables Glasurit to use the technologies and know-how from OEM coatings production in order to develop perfect refinish solutions for the market early on. Glasurit customers directly benefit from this. They can be sure that a refinish solution in top Glasurit quality will also be available for the latest OEM and special colors – worldwide, on every continent.

» Further information on the 2018-19 Automotive Color Trends