A Plate of Cozido a Portuguesa, Please.

Today I thought I would take another peep into the world of paint. Blue, blue, electric blue…

Undercurrent Blue: BASF

These kind of things don’t go out of date so quickly so I’ll commence with the over-arching story that in 2017 BASF predicts that blue will be a trending colour. “Blue continues to gain strength as an automotive color,” Paul Czornij, head of design for automotive paint supplier BASF’s Color Excellence Group, said. “It has a calming effect and a strong correlation with natural things.”

Czornij expects the colour to join white and other neutrals as the most popular color among car buyers. The effects of technology on a person’s mood, which then impacts expression, also inspired this year’s color compilation, according to Czornij (source ANE)

2018 Opel Grandland: Opel.de

In response to this, I had a look at the new car launches from a variety of websites and picked out all the blues (the Grandland above is not from the Paris show, though). Sure enough there appeared a noticeable number of blue vehicles, some new and some revisions.

This summer BASF moved a little further into the future, offering Atomium Blue as a hot pick for buyers in 2022.  Whereas in 2017 BASF suggested the interest in blue related to an attraction to nature, in 2018 the reason cited was “thanks to your upwardly trending interest in science and space travel.

2019 BMW 3-series: source

The same colour trend is explained this way:  “Dark colours, blue hues and complex effects represent the omnipresence of technology” (source).

2019 Maserati QP: source

BASF and PPG do dominate the search results for colour trend research. I had to dig down to page two of the Google search to find the blog of hard-working Paul Tan where one can read Nippon Paint’s trend colours.

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS: source

That review seemed to be derived from user insights as well as expert comments. It is also a colour review focused on the Far East. The Transient Glow colour range were what I think of as Cuban and S American colours: bright yellows, purples, vivid blues. Essential Balance comprised warm tones and warmish metallics, something like the gold/beige combinations of the US market in the 1990s.


Seeking Adventure (above) is rather harder to describe: I see a touch of Arizona in this though the vivid lime green and the two blues are not in keeping with the palette. The palette Conscious Being (below)…


…is a more conventional range of cool blues and metallics. The bright blue known as lush ultramarine would be very interesting if it was a non-metallic.

2019 DS DS3 Crossback: source

Further digging in the sub-strata of the theme produced this nugget, from Akso Nobel: it’s about the Colour of the Year 2019: “Last year, many of us were left unsettled by global events, so we closed our doors to retreat and regroup. Now we feel ready to throw everything open and face the world again. Our trend research shows that people are experiencing a renewed sense of energy, optimism and purpose. There’s a desire to reach out, engage with others, to make things better and “be the change”. That can be anything from marching for women’s rights and fishing plastic out of the ocean, to small acts of neighborly kindness. People are ready to seize the moment.”  That colour is spiced honey. It’s not an automotive, it’s a domestic wall-paint looking very like beige.

2019 GAX GS5: source

In something of a contrast, the AARP views orange as this year’s hot colour, so to speak. So, that means between now and 2021, orange has to creep in. The AARP showed six versions of orange already available in the catalogues: the New Beetle in a “habanero hue”, a Lamborghini in pumpkin orange, a Corvette in Sebring orange, a Honda in orange fury, a Renegade in orange fury and a BMW X2 in sunset orange. I don’t think the AARP’s view is more than the opinion of one author though.

2019 Audi A4 in Ascari blue: source

Dezeen provides more substantial research from WSGN, the trend forecasting service. Neo-mint is the colour for 2020, they say. “According to the trend forecaster, which is headquartered in London, neo mint is a gender-neutral colour with “an oxygenating, fresh tone that aligns science and technology with nature”. Again, it’s not an automotive colour though.

2019 Mercedes B-class, you so blue, baby: source

Research on interior automotive colours is even more scant. Possibly this is because it is subsumed under general colour trend work. Kneitz, an Austrian fabric firm, digested the colours shown at Geneva and described it as a major source of inspiration. This seems to me to be reactive. For what it is worth, they were interested in the Rolls-Royce Phantom with a colour called Whispered Muse and the Hyundai Le Fil Rouge interior (white and skin beige).

The overall impression I get from all of this is that the data is of widely variable quality and whatever happens most cars will be white, grey metallic or black.

2019 Skoda Karoq: source

Bucking the blue trend: the Skoda Karoq, left until last. One other thing is that I have begun to see more bright metallic red-blue cars on the streets here, most noticeably the Grandland that introduces this article. Even under the dull light of autumn Jutland it stands out nicely.

Author: richard herriott

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

14 thoughts on “A Plate of Cozido a Portuguesa, Please.”

  1. Morning all,

    I was only thinking a couple of days ago how that blue was trending when I saw the cars of the Paris motor show. It was coated on the restyled Renault Kadjar official pictures too and, as most would’ve noticed, It could also be found on the velours seats of Peugeot’s e-Legend.
    It’s interesting that Renault chose a rich colour too for the EZ-Ultimo concept’s interior (green in their case, a bit like the Skoda’s exterior paint above). there seems to be a return to richer colours and different textures in car’s interior. I really liked the 1930’s, Art Deco details inside Renault’s concept.

    Interior air vents seem to be going through a wild period too, after years of being black, square and boring I noticed there have been an onslaught of dramatic air vents in recent times, from Mercedes’s round propellers to Citroen’s squircle extravaganza via DS’s geometric shapes.

    I was also thinking how, at some point during the last 2 years, there seemed to have been a trend for showing a brand new vehicle in one colour and ONE colour only for several weeks/months. That trend seems to be dying out and was rather short-lived. I noticed recent launches have seen manufacturers showing new models in several colours straight away again.

    1. “Helen, Dave – we need to control the narrative of this launch. That means colour. The car must be seen in one way and one way only so the customer can see it in the best way and that our core customers can see the car in the colour they like best – Raging Ochre. All reviews and tests must feature this colour and if they don´t I will see that everyone in the press office gets utterly fired and fired again from their next job. If any journalist disparages the colour, cancel the ad spend with their outlet, effective forever. All press shots should be in top three-quarter view, no profiles as the overhangs look too long in Ochre. No exceptions.”

  2. that’s exactly it 😀

    Iam glad it’s over, I was always dying to see the car in other colours.

    I was thinking you must have been thrilled (possibly fainted) upon discovering the giant armrest inside the Ultimo concept. Granted, it’s not a central armrest but it’s so humongous you could rest your whole upper body on it, not just your arm.

  3. Oh. Ok. Peugeot is on fire lately, never thought Tavares would turn around the brand so quickly. There’s the brand new logo rumoured to appear on the next 308 too. There are several details I particularly like:the giant Lion sculpture at the motor shows, the use of an old emblem on the e-Legend, the way they now frame their official pictures with a line at the top and on one side with the Lion logo holding it all. These are small details but they contribute in giving the brand a more upmarket feel (as intended) I think and they’re now really starting to use their heritage as a marketing tool.

  4. Talking about Peugeot, Mahindra, who now owns the motocycles side of the Brand has just released some new interesting looking bikes that, oddly for me, adopt some of the same details as Peugeot the Car-Brand.
    I don’t know much about bikes but I hear these are small-ish and a big man can look kind of ridiculous riding on them. But what’s interesting to me is the use of a similar font, seat design, logos, colours, etc… as used by Peugeot Automobiles. There seems to be a connection even though the 2 brands are owned by separate entities.

    The bikes are not bad looking I think (see weblink)


  5. Salut the blue! Hopefully, finally a step away from the often mundane and tedious whites, blacks or silvers.
    Blue does affect mood, style, shape and I believe enhance a cars bodywork can emulate those three.
    Whilst the pictures above may not to be everyone’s taste, this is DTW and for not one minute would I expect it, but the Škoda and the BMW look exemplary in these shades of blue. My favourite is the Maserati; enigmatic, purposeful, cool and downright sexy next to the silver version. It offers a “noise,” a richness to the form and a decidedly beautiful aura.
    I understand that the bog standard colours can work, usually as they are free on initial purchase. Black, white and red are the proverbial swine to keep clean whereas argent can hide travel staining pretty well.
    I had a friend, sadly no longer with us who refused to “pay for paint” and ended up with a white Megane, a black Guilietta and a silver BMW 1 series in the time I knew him. I pleaded with him to stump up the readies for another hue but he would hear none of it.
    Whilst not a favourable shape to my eyes, the new Civic have some real stand out shades adorning them. I don’t know if they’ve found a new paint process or material but they do stand out.
    Summing up, blue for me works in most shades; a deep navy blue on a knackered 206 round the corner, the cobalt blue of a Porsche or an azure sea C3 version and for me, the Maserati blue. It even looks great on a tractor.

    1. The way I understand it colour perception and reactions by-pass the rational part of the brain. I do like those blues. I saw the Grandland in reality last week, with a white roof. It looks double l lush.
      Speaking of Opel, the poor old Adam will not be replaced. That´s a real pity. Those were lovely, cheerful and humane little cars, the opposite of a “fluck off” SUV or gurning roadster.

    2. Agree on the Adam! And it has some very nice and unique colours, too (but no distinctive blue I can remember).

      What I like about the new colours are the variety of greenish shades, as seen on the launch of the 3008 and the new Cactus. This is something we have missed for too long when only very dark, neutral blues were available. I even see some BMW SUVs in bright greenish blue now, they look almost cheery this way.

      I was tempted to write an article about these shades at some time, but now you were quicker. Thanks for sparing me the work ;-)!

    3. Hi Andrew,

      Funnily enough Iam really not fond of that Azure sea Blue on the C3 (if we’re talking about the same colour!). It’s still quite a common sight here in France and, somehow, that shade always makes the car look dirty and it makes the C3 appear flimsier than it already is in my opinion. But otherwise, like you, Iam a big fan of Blue in car paint, perhaps more the darker shades like Navy Blue. Also it seems to me that navy blue works better on longer cars, not so much on smaller cars, like city cars.

  6. Hi NRJ
    I’ve been thinking more of blues since posting last. The azure to me is vibrant, youthful and works on smaller vehicles such as the C3. SEAT do a similar hue and again, to me, it suits nicely.
    Then there’s a S type and an XJ6 in what I believe is called pure frost, a really pale cyan and it takes some getting used to but being local and seen most days, it’s only taken around five years to appreciate these.
    A Bentley Turbo in navy blue is sublime as are most larger cars. A Velar in Byron blue seen recently made my day and I heard a quattroporte roar past in a beer garden. I didn’t see it but it sounded blue

    1. I’ve checked that Frost Blue out and yes it’s a nice colour. Not that uncommon, especially for the XJ, at least around here. I think there’s a Britishness to that blue, even though Bottle green is usally associated with Britain, perhaps owing to the fact that I don’t don’t see many German cars in that blue colour and it feels to me like Bentley had a similar blue, like in the Arnage or something.

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