“Parallax” – the key concept behind the BASF’s Automotive Color Trends 2016/17

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 according to which 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 genuine self-expression. 

Multi-faceted colors make up the global trend 

At 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 contrast – a search for authentic experiences, especially in urban areas which are intensely expose to technological development. 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 further shape the way global trends are adapted regionally.

Changing identities in Europe 

Based on recent developments in automotive coatings, a change in the angle of the viewer looking at the automobile reveals a variety of colors, effects and textures. At a frontal 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. 

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.

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. 

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

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