A Ewe Assays Askance the Closing Crook

Which colours will be catching our eyes soon?  This one is about coatings, a topic we have touched upon at DTW a few times before. Here and here and here (but not here. )

2017 BASF automotive colour predictions: source

BASF have revealed their predictions for the colours of 2018 – something of a self-fulfilling prophecy or else whistling down the wind. By that I mean that the “prediction” could shape preferences, in which case it’s not a prediction but an influence on the market. Alternatively, people will choose their colours regardless and BASF´s prediction will be disproved.

What do they say?

BASF’s collection has a name, “translucid” and behind it is a story about how customers are resisting the opacity of the digital world (which is a lot to ask of a coating). According to BASF this collection shows customers’ preferences which are formed by the way they grapple with

1975 Peugeot 604

digitisation, data privacy and their position in a world of Instabook, Facegram and Snapped-In. This manifests as a form of nostalgia – for the analogue world of the 70s, apparently. I can see some of the claims being realised already in the increasing occurrence of warm metallics – I am fairly sure Peugeot’s brown metallic shade on the 1007 is identical to the one on the 604 of 1976. And if it’s not the same, it looks the same which is the important part. BMW, Hyundai, Fiat and Kia have been good about these warm shades in recent times.

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BASF have three ranges under the “translucid” umbrella. The Asia Pacific market’s going for white, dark red and grey; EMEA will be pining for orange-red, pale gold and a light metallic green that was last in favour around 1995. North America will plump for pearlescent grey-white, mid-grey blue and a bright blue that Ford called Bimini Blue on the 1993 Ford Probe (and also appeared on the Ford Focus Mk2, series 1 for a while).

Absent from this range are very many greens (there are three) and much by way of pure yellow. Only one gold colour nods in the direction of this, the freshest of colours. Deep green and flat yellow are absent plus flat shades like mustard, avocado or Holland blue. BASF’s colour range is certainly in line with the recent automotive shows where yellow and green have not been among the most frequent choices. And that is odd, as I would have thought they’d be noticed. But perhaps designers are shying away from colours which they think will be poorly received?

1993 Ford Probe Bimini Blue: source

In counterpoint, PPG have a more varied selection of 64 colours for 2018. The most energetic sub-palette is called “Hyper HD”, two of which are yellow (making up a bigger proportion of the 13 colours). They have two oranges, a paler one and a richer one, a lime metallic such as was popular on the last Mazda 1 and three blues: pale metallic, a vibrant UV blue and a slightly pearlescent lightish navy blue.

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Another sub-palette is “IM Perfect”. I like this one. It’s got some subtle shades such as autumn foliage, copper and brass metal. The gold colours are simply luscious: a beige gold, an orange gold and a shade not unlike Citroen´s famous Brun Scarabi. This range is what I would be splashing on Lancias if they still existed to any serious degree. They could also be used to great effect on BMW, Audi and Mercedes mid-sized coupes.

The Knight’s Watch palette is more serene and sombre: ideal for S-classes and 7-series cars. Of note is the bronze metallic, the orange deep red and a dark-reddish brown (S-class coupe?).

In amongst the statistics from PPG, white is revealed to be the most popular coating – 31%. Black nabs 18% and grey or silver making up 28%. Other colours account the rest (blue’s uptake is increasing). That is a deeply boring palette and says a lot about the effects of austerity and uncertainty. People are thinking about resale values. I think that a sure sign of a contented society is vibrancy in the colours they are selecting. We live in troubled times – the hues admit as much.

Gallant Grey, Axalta´s colour of the year: source

And those greys and neutrals are popular. Sure enough, Axalta, another automotive coatings supplier has declared “Gallant Grey” to be the colour of 2017. They said “this luxurious colour is enhanced by blue and silver flakes that produces a unique sparkle effect and dark undertones that enrich the finish, adding sophistication”. It also has hints of green and “exemplifies modernity and elegance”. It’s the new silver, they claim.

If only to cheer ourselves up, I hope some of the predictions by BASF and PPG are borne out by customer preferences in the coming years.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

3 thoughts on “A Ewe Assays Askance the Closing Crook”

  1. Richard, thank you for such a comprehensive overview of what may or may not be the colour of our next car. I think that most “predictions” for colour, fashion etc are self fulfilling in that the customer can only choose from what they already know or what they are offered. A palette that is mainly blue, grey, silver or white, then that is where their choice will fall. I don’t share your enthusiasm for flat yellow but I think it is disappointing that it isn’t offered. I would certainly welcome a return of green and I notice that VW is offering dark metallic green for Golfs. If nostalgia is a driver of colour choice then the reappearance of flat pastels would be pleasing.

    Last month in France we hired a brand new Peugeot 108 and I was struck by the attractive paint finish, a metallic navy that had much more “sparkle” than is usually seen with this colour. It suited the small car and the sunshine.

    To end on a depressing note, I think most peoples decision is made with a view to trade-in after three years, so pick something bland. Mrs M has just purchased a new Polo and the salesman told me that 60% of Polos they sold were white and yes that was her choice!

    1. If it was me I’d have the colour *I* want and accept a lower resale price; and for every one or two people who want a new car in a rare colour there are one or two who want a used car in a rare colour. You only have to sell the car once; buyers of neutral colours seem to act as if they are trying sell cars every day; they seem to be acting as if their personal choice has to follow the average – peculiar when you think about it. It’s only if you discount personal pleasure that choosing for the next owner makes sense; alot of optional features don’t “add” to resale value and are pure costs yet people still buy them. Paint should be no different.
      What gives?

  2. I have the impression that blues are aleady appearing mor on our streets – especially the ones on the greener side, which I appreciate. There is a very nice dark metallic greenish blue that can be seen on Skoda Superbs quite often. Richard showed a rather turquoise shade on the Suzuki Ignis colour palette, which is also common on Vitaras. And Peugeot markets its new 5008 in a very nice “Emerald Crystal” shade – bluish green, dark petrol or so (hard to tell from pictures what it really looks like, I’ve never seen it in reality).
    They even seem to have revoked the ban on colour for BMW SUVs – I see them in bright greenish blue sometimes, and there are even some bright red ones. The same goes for the Porsche Macan, where customers seem to be willing to show more individuality than with the Cayenne.

    Good signs for colour lovers?

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