Innovation in Rust Belt Cities Drives Future Car Colors


Innovation in Rust Belt cities and sustainable living will drive North American color choices for 2018 model year vehicles, says a report released today from BASF Corp., which has offices in Southfield.

With this inspiration in mind, BASF’s Under the Radar report predicts that locally themed colors will lead the way. While “Haymaker” is reminiscent of a rusty factory in one of America’s Rust Belt cities, a light blue color called “La Garra Charrua” represents the wide-open prairie spaces in mid-America.

Under the Radar helps car companies predict the mood of a specific region and provides exterior coating recommendations that reflect the ideals that may become popular two to three years out,” says Paul Czornij, technical manager for BASF’s color excellence group. “Noting many political, societal and technological references, we realized that the ‘flyover states’ and the Rust Belt regions are becoming increasingly productive in our post-Recession era.”

The report also considers the country’s move toward sustainability and innovation to be a driving trend in future color choices. “Fitted Green,” the color of freshly mowed grass, is a reminder of a simpler life, while “Take 10,000” is a sparkly brown that reminds people to consider the importance of natural experiences.

The North American local theme focuses on today’s individuals who are innovating in the most unlikely areas, Czornij says. For example, once a cash-only model, farmer’s markets are now offering credit card capabilities.  The “cottage industry” is another example as individuals are harkening back to a simpler time and developing low-key solutions that advance society through modest, yet sustainable models.

While being quite the risk-taker in terms of his reds, greens, and blues, Czornji understands the need to keep automotive color palettes in check. “I find ways to be innovative in colors but still stay on the conservative side,” he says.

An example of this can be found in “Gray Elevator,” a dark silver that harkens to today’s connected world, Czornji says. “The colors we’ve chosen will highlight a car‘s beauty and create a strong color memory while reflecting both the driver’s desires and the North American consciousness.”

More than 60 new colors were introduced today at the annual BASF’s Automotive Color Trend Show, held at Signal Return Events in Detroit.