Make way for green! Automotive color trend moves towards green, bronze and brown | rmpaint
Make way for green! Automotive color trend moves towards green, bronze and brown

In the foreseeable future, natural colors will be playing a more powerful role for cars. These are the results of the current trend forecast presented by the BASF Coatings’ design team. Knowing what colors will be a hit with car buyers in three to five years is not just relevant for the car manufacturers. The refinishing industry also has to prepare for the new color trends early on.

According to the BASF designers’ 2012-2013 trend forecast, which has just been published, the automotive colors in future will be “naturally cultivated”. The forecast predicts that developments in the world of automotive colors will be particularly apparent outside the range of the staple colors black and silver.



The brown trend predicted by BASF experts years ago is continuing. For instance, the color is already used for nearly seven per cent of the newly registered cars in Germany and will remain at this high level. “There are signs that the need for more color on the roads is continuing and that, in future, we will be tapping into further color spaces, such as bronzes and emeralds. Specifically, green is becoming more significant,” the global design team explained in the report. Mark Gutjahr, head of Design Europe, predicts, “The continued high value assigned to the notion of ecology may now again be signified by the color green and this color will return to cars in four to five years. That’s about how long it takes for a trend color to appear on the roads. So we still have to wait a bit for green.”

The return to the color green is a global trend demonstrated by the forecast put forward by the BASF designers from North America, Asia and Europe. For their trend forecasts, they analyse a wide variety of social trends.

New diversity

The topic of sustainability continues to be on our radar, attracting attention to not only the environment, but also the everyday world. Gutjahr: “This is a sign that products are becoming more similar throughout the world. On the one hand, this is leading to a new appreciation of the past and traditions like handcrafts. On the other hand, by specifically combining and selecting niches, we are trying to foster more diversity again.” When it comes to automotive colors, niches are also being rediscovered. A long-absent, intensive green is coming to the fore here. In addition, colors such as ruby red and blues are expanding the color range. 


Materials that can be experienced

In politics, business or society, the modern communication technologies are triggering huge changes. Setting the tone are phenomena such as the increasing dematerialisation of technology. In future, technology will be less tangible in a haptic sense. For instance, the keypad of smart phones has developed into a touch display. “Conversely, we are observing new narrative and haptic qualities in many areas. Heavy substances, striking surfaces and expressive materials such as wood and stone create a stronger emotional charge of the world we live in. In the automotive world, this means that we can expect more intensive colors and bolder effects,” explained Corinna Sy, designer at BASF Coatings Europe. “The new colors are expressive, but not blatant, like a good story.” With dark berries, intensive browns and coppers, along with radiant emeralds, the designers anticipate powerful color experiences on the roads.

Global team, special colors for China

Carmakers are working and thinking globally. For this reason, BASF’s design team has a global presence, sounding out international trends without ignoring regional features or color trends. In order to do justice to the increasing significance of the growing automotive industry in Asia Pacific, and specifically to the local manufacturers, the designers have included special Asian and Chinese colors in their trend collection.


From color trend to refinishing solution

BASF Coatings’ color trend forecasts provide the refinishing sector with a first impression of the direction in which the market is heading. Since some of the colors are already ready for OEM coating, for R-M, the new color trend forecast also serves as the starting gun for developing the respective refinish solutions.


They are created in close cooperation with the car manufacturers worldwide, with whom R-M, as one of the longest-established paint partners of the carmakers maintains excellent relations. As a result, R-M ensures that early on, bodyshops also have a refinish solution approved by the manufacturer for the latest OEM colors.


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