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Natural Is New Black, Earth Tones On Rise

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On: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 11:30AM | By: Chris Salamone


Natural Is New Black, Earth Tones On Rise

If you’re sick of the same old red, white, gray, and black options, a wave a good news is about to arrive. BASF Automotive Coatings recently told The Detroit News that “naturally cultivated” vehicle colors are on the rise.

Considering the success of Subaru’s nature themed, green Outback, we can safely say that market trends do seem to be leaning toward a 1980s-esque palate of vibrant choices. But instead of variations on gold and maroon, BASF suggests that blues, browns, and greens will be the motifs that define the next generation of vehicle paint.

Of course, there’s a lot more to the story, though. A bump in color choices – regardless of genre – may indicate another, altogether more promising, trend. The future of automotive color choices AND the industry as a whole looks a lot more…well…colorful.

“Although popular staple colors such as silver, black and white make up approximately 50 to 80 percent of current production, there is a rich diversity of potential shades that are returning to the market,” said Paul Czornij, technical manager for BASF Color Excellence group.

And here’s the real gem: Czornij thinks that an increasing societal trend to “celebrate beauty in earth tones” is making headway into consumer preferences for vehicle paint. So, in support, BASF is attempting to develop future colors that channel the sustainable spirit – and represent a consumer’s desire to mimic or support natural beauty.

At first blush, the comment seems sort of one dimensional. But the subtext of BASF’s statement is that car buyers are beginning to expect vehicle exteriors to reflect personal opinion, again – as if this has happened before.

And it has. Color options have remained one of the indicator trends in the automotive marketplace, often reducing in popularity with economic droughts and increasing with upswings. Think about the mid Roaring Twenties or 1950s, when autos could be seen sporting chrome, vibrant colors and various artifacts of extravagance. Those were times of renaissance, or rebirth, and expression became as important as function.

Well here we are in 2012, and BASF says expression is back. But this time we’re not riding around in finned space boats or Darth Vader black Grand Nationals. Instead, we’ll be celebrating something infinitely more rational – a sort of returning to our roots.




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