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2024 Automotive Color Trends

2024 Automotive Color Trends

When a certain vehicle catches your eye, is it the styling or the color?  For me, a unique or expressive color is what I see first.  In fact, in a world full of similarly styled SUVs, color can be a key differentiator.

Last May, I ordered a 2023 Chevrolet Camaro in Rapid Blue.  That color really caught my eye and made that car really stand out.  Unfortunately, my order went in too late for the car to get built, so I selected a white Camaro off the dealer lot.  I was really disappointed that I missed out on that Rapid Blue.

Related article:  Car Shopping: Time For Plan B

side view of a Camaro with bright blue paint

Color Reflects Our Mood

New and exciting car colors fascinate me, so I pay attention to color trends.  BASF, a leading chemical company, is also one of the world’s largest automotive paint suppliers.  Their designers constantly watch color trends beyond automotive, and share their observations and predictions for use by the auto industry.

BASF designers also look at world events and consumer sentiment to draw inspiration for future hues. When you look back over time, the health of the economy and general mood of the country can drive color choices.  Look at the harvest gold and earthy greens and browns from the 1970s as an example of how we felt at the time.

Change from the 2021 Study

In 2021, I shared the results of the BASF study.  At the time, BASF believed the following colors would gain popularity between 2023-2025:

  • Dark seltzer: This gray-like color signals the “new normal,” according to the trend report.
  • Redolent red: The trend report says the new color captures a “subtly muted reddish-brown color, pigmented by the forward-thinking functionality that new transportation demands.” Maybe reddish colors will be the new white.
  • Abstraction blue: Indeed, blue is rising in popularity so it’s no surprise that this color is going to be in the minds of consumers.

Whites, grays and blacks are still the top colors in 2024; however; I have seen more blues and reds (especially maroons and “wine” varieties) on upscale models.  Maybe there really is something about their vision for the future!

Related article:  2021 Automotive Color Trends

2024 Color Trend Study

When BASF’s designers looked at what their trend signals were telling them, they realized it’s time for a color update.  Supposedly, the classic automobile color wheel has seen better days.

The trend is leaning toward colors that are not normally seen on cars.  Colors are reflecting a more positive world view, with a focus on lighter shades and the exploration of new, expressive colors.

Each region of the world is heading in a different direction with color.  I suppose that is to be expected due to the types of cars sold in each region, along with the climate and economic experiences. Colors that look good on large trucks and SUVs (North America) may not fit with smaller cars (Europe and China).

blue car shape

For the Americas

The new color collection for the Americas is known as ZENOMENON. BASF describes it as “a color purely perceived as the result of light dancing between microscopic structures, long observed within the natural world. In this case, what mimics a transparent blue mid-coat is actually crystal clear and free of traditional colorants.”

I call it blue pearl. Regardless, colors in North America are leaning toward restorative yellow and green effects, suggesting some kind of renewal.

I’m not really a fan of these transparent or pearlescent colors. Give me a bright enamel blue and I will be renewed!

Europe, Middle East and Africa

The palette for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) puts a highlight on bright beige colors. Pastels also play an important role, introducing interesting non-automotive color into automotive design.

I can get behind this palette.  I think non-metallic paints in basic pastels would be really interesting on vehicles.

Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific explored and enriched the important colors of whites and grays.  New colors like shimmering green pastel and fluorescent red are geared toward the growing individuality of car buyers in APAC.

The key color for Asia Pacific is a light green hue (ELECTRONIC CITRUS) that shows the region’s positive attitude and growth. Sounds good to me.

Final Thoughts & Questions

Throughout the BASF study, colors typically reserved for non-automotive applications may be found on future vehicles. I like that idea and hope we do see more uplifting/expressive colors soon.  I’m really bored with the grays and blacks on so many of our vehicles today.

Let me know if you have any thoughts, questions or a cool story to share.  You can reach me in any of the following ways:

Email: wct.billtaylor@gmail.com

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