May 11, 2016

BASF’s Automotive Color Trends 2016/17 see urban and natural inspired colors creating a parallax

  • Intense blue with a digital look shapes the trend in Europe
  • Globally – synthetic, metallic colors are on the rise
  • Automotive colors will be influenced by the interconnection of digitalization and social developments

Predicting the up-and-coming colors of automotive design is a challenge the designers from BASF’s Coatings division tackle every year. The overarching theme for this year’s collection of 65 colors is “Parallax”, a concept that objects appear shifted or changed when viewed from different angles. The two competing vantage points that shape our modern world are: the fascination of the virtual world and the longing for honest self-expression.

Multi-faceted colors make up the global trend
On the global level, the ambiguous relation between the virtual and the physical world becomes visible on automotive color palettes. Synthetic, metallic blue, silver and white hues stand for the trend towards digitalization of the daily life. Chromatic colors and natural hues demonstrate a contradiction – a search for authentic experiences and emotions, especially in urban areas. Innovative pigment effects that enable two or more colors to be combined along with metallic urban shades will enrich the color portfolio of the cars of tomorrow.

Specific local conditions and developments shape the way global trends are adapted regionally:

Changing identities in Europe
Changing your own position opens new viewing angles and therefore makes way for new ideas. This reflects directly into the development of automotive coatings – where a changing angle reveals the potential in color, effect and texture. This perfectly fits with the topic of Parallax. On a direct view, the idea of a physical world is represented by ASMR Blue: an intense metallic blue, which combines a digital look and feel with a materialized metallic effect. Blue in general will gain market share with the help of these possible refreshments.

Europe is also guided by the question “What comes after the hashtag?” – the search for a way to adapt to a digital world without losing track of real life experiences and personal identities.

A sequence of colors ranging from blood red – a powerful color representing an inner feeling which leads to new ways of change – to darker reds and greens that are accompanied by anthracite and blacks makes up the European trend world. Black – one of the major colors for automotive since years – is regaining strength and power: by creating deep dark impressions.

Color trend in Asia Pacific: emerging self-confidence
Despite economic and other challenges in the region, Asians remain confident in their future success. This optimistic approach is reflected in fresh, playful colors such as blue-green. In addition, Asians are looking for creativity and quality, which can be found in the delicate textures of a metallic sand beige color, demonstrating the connection between traditional values and typical Asian elegance.

Progressive trend in North America
The highlighted North American color, Raingarden, is a soft sophisticated silver that transitions between green and blue, depending on the viewing angle. The subtle blending of colors shows that the lines of how individuals behave in society and how they’re influenced by technology are blurred. The unique combination of pigments and technical finesse needed to create this effect exemplifies BASF’s coatings capabilities.

Expertise from around the globe
Automotive Color Trends pulls expertise from studios in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Through intensive collaboration, the teams provide automotive customers with global trends and regional differences in the world of color. BASF’s design competency is the key to identifying trends at an early stage that have the potential to represent a brand throughout a car’s life cycle.

For further information on BASF’s global Automotive Color Trends and high-resolution photos, please refer to the press contact provided above.

About BASF’s Coatings division
The Coatings division of BASF is a global expert in the development, production and marketing of innovative and sustainable automotive OEM and refinish coatings, industrial coatings and decorative paints. We create advanced performance solutions and drive performance, design and new applications to meet our partners’ needs all over the world. BASF shares skills, knowledge and resources of interdisciplinary and global teams for the benefit of customers by operating a collaborative network of sites in Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific. In 2015, the Coatings division achieved global sales of about €3.2 billion.

Solutions beyond your imagination – Coatings by BASF. For more information about the Coatings division of BASF and its products, visit

About BASF
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 112,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of more than €70 billion in 2015. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information at


Jörg Zumkley
Jörg Zumkley
Media Relations BASF Coatings
Last Update May 11, 2016