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The trend toward greater colour diversity and individuality poses great challenges for body shops. BASF’s Coatings division, the European market leader in colour trends for automotive OEM coatings, recently analysed the distribution of automotive colours in Europe in 2016. The report demonstrated end customers’ growing need for individuality expressed by special effects and a variety of colours.

White is still the most popular colour in Europe, with a share of 29% followed by black with 19% and grey with 18%. Nearly 80% of the automotive colours in 2016 belong to the chromatic colour range. Among the chromatic colours, blue continues to be the most popular colour, with 10%, followed by red and brown.

A comparison between vehicle segments showed that small cars are often finished in white or chromatic colours with SUVs being painted predominately grey.

100 blues and 90 greys

Although the distribution of colours in 2016 remained nearly constant, there was an increase in the colour diversity within the color ranges. This is due to the ongoing development of new colours, as well as the high demand for special effects across the board. Mixing existing colours with different effect particles produces customised pearl or metallic effects.

The wide range of possible combinations gives rise to an extraordinary abundance of color variations. “This wide range of possibilities for car colours also goes hand-in-hand with the social megatrend toward individualisation. Nowadays, end customers are able to select unique, personalised colours for their cars,” said Stefan Sickert, head of project management Basecoat.

In addition to helping individualise a car, effects also accentuate the body shape and thus highlight the vehicle’s character. Blue is the leading colour in terms of diversity with over 100 colour variations, while grey is close behind with some 90 different shades.

The right refinish solution from Glasurit

Finding the right colour is one of the most important steps in automotive refinishing. With over 250 000 refinish colours in its database, BASF’s premium brand Glasurit makes this an easy task by offering the right refinish solution for every automotive colour.

Glasurit’s connection to BASF means that it is close to the market and latest trends, and can develop the perfect refinish solution for new colours in good time.

And with Glasurit’s Colour Online database, body shops can find the OEM and special colours of nearly all automotive manufacturers worldwide – updated daily. Individual colours can be stored here, too.

“This allows us to cater to the growing individualisation of automotive colours and ensure that body shops can quickly find a solution for any colour,” explained Carel Nell, national sales manager for BASF Coatings Services