Wednesday, February 14, 2018

DRIVE One Students Showcase StarLite at the North American International Auto Show

By Joseph Tregembo, Communications Director, DRIVE One Detroit

On a snowy morning in January, hundreds of people from both industry and the press lined the halls of Detroit’s Cobo Center for the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The event attracts thousands from across the globe to Detroit to see the latest in car design and technology and to get a glimpse into what the automotive world has in-store for the future. The annual Press Preview was no different than in years past with the atrium and show floor filled with a who’s-who of CEOs, designers, TV personalities and celebrities. However, of the many surprising faces seen surveying the industry’s latest-and-greatest, the most interesting was not Bob Seger, but rather a group of area high school kids.

Students Alexis Panetta, Isiah Cook, and Miranda Rumfelt from the DRIVE One TechCenter in the nearby suburb of Roseville, Michigan attended the show’s Press Preview as guests of Axalta. But they weren’t there simply to glare at the new cars. Since September, DRIVE One students had been hard-at-work on a set of four projects that would help introduce Axalta’s 2018 Automotive Color of the Year-StarLite at the annual EyesOn Design Awards during Tuesday’s NAIAS Press Preview. The EyesOn Design Awards, which recognizes the best in automotive design and styling at vehicles debuting at NAIAS, is judged by the Heads of Design and Product Development for major automotive manufacturers, as well as Professors from the most renowned transportation design colleges and the biggest names in automotive journalism.
The StarLiter projects took students through the same development process used by professional vehicle designers

The projects, dubbed the StarLiter projects, took students through the same development process used by professional vehicle designers with the only exception being that the finished product would be a working pedal car rather than a full-scale vehicle. As part of the projects, students sketched and later rendered two new designs that highlighted Axalta’s 90 Years of Iconic Colors; a 1925 Roadster Concept and a 2025 autonomous concept.
Upon completing a finalized rendering of each design, students sculpted 1:5 scale clay models to the specifications of both renderings, then took the dimensions and constructed matching pedal cars from the ground-up. Upon completion of both the clay models and pedal cars, all four StarLiters went to the spray booth where students primed and painted each model and pedal car themselves. Once the projects were cleared, they went back to DRIVE’s Transportation Design Studio for final detailing and then were transported to Cobo Center for display during NAIAS and the Press Preview. The overall process took close to 16 weeks, starting with basic sketches on a pad of paper and culminated with the finished pedal cars showcased on the stage at the EyesOn Design Awards where all the judges, award recipients, attendees and media personnel could clearly see them.
Students got hands on with clay modelling


In addition to the countless hours put-in by Alexis, Isiah, Miranda, and 40 other students attending classes at the DRIVE One TechCenter, several DRIVE One Volunteers and Instructors from all corners of the industry provided their time and expertise to help students on the StarLiter projects, including Dale Burke, a retired designer from Ford who helped shape and weld the pedal cars, and Ryan Goimarac, a designer and engineer for Fiat-Chrysler who helped students create their own renderings.

By designing the pedal cars themselves, and then taking their designs to a completed product: all the students who participated were able to see the design process at work, and develop a greater understanding of what it takes for a vehicle to go from a simple idea in someone’s head, to a car they see on the road every day. And with several seniors attending DRIVE having serious interest in careers as automotive designers, the lesson behind the StarLiters could not have come at a more opportune time. 
Drive One students pose with their finished projects

It’s also worth noting that the StarLiters won’t be “burning-out” after the auto show either. The 1925 StarLiter Pedal Car will return to Cobo Center to compete in the Pedal Car Challenge at the 66th Annual Detroit Autorama in early March. All four StarLiters will also be prominently featured as part of the “DRIVE One: Clay Model Build-Off” during the IX Piston-Power Autorama, the largest indoor car show in North America, which will be held in Cleveland two weeks after the return to Cobo.

Many high school students have opportunities to showcase their hard work, but few will ever have a stage to showcase their work greater than the North American International Auto Show.
The pedal cars were proudly displayed on the stage at EyesOn Design

Though the pride Alexis, Isiah, and Miranda felt with those pedal cars in front of the greatest car designers in the world may very well last a lifetime; with the lessons learned building the StarLiters, don’t be surprised when it may be them or another DRIVE Student sitting up on that judge’s stage very soon.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Axalta Unveils StarLite as its Automotive Color of the Year 2018

StarLite is a modern, technology-savvy, premium color for vehicles of today and tomorrow. Borne from Axalta’s ChromaDyne™ line of color coats which are developed for automotive OEMs, StarLite is a light and reflective hue that contains synthetic pearl flakes which create an eye-catching, pearlescent effect. StarLite is designed to look great and add a luxurious shine to all vehicle sizes, while providing functional benefits.
“Highly reflective colors can contribute to the functionality of driverless vehicles because lighter colors, like StarLite, are more easily detectable by LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems,” explains Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Global Color Marketing Manager. “So, while StarLite may not apply to all autonomous detection systems, Axalta believes these shades will become increasingly important to automakers.”
A study by Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area also shows that white and other light and reflective paints can have sustainable results and help reduce automotive emissions.
Axalta also selected StarLite as the 2018 Automotive Color of the Year because of a notable rise in the global popularity of automotive white colors. According to Axalta’s recently released 2017 Global Color Popularity Report, nearly 40 percent of car buyers chose white in 2017 and it is the seventh consecutive year that white is the most popular color in the world.
The first automotive event to feature this rising star will be the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. 
To read The Detroit News’ feature article on StarLite, click here.
To read Axalta’s Press Release on StarLite, click here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Farewell to Gallant Gray

As we look forward to launching Axalta’s 2018 Automotive Color of the Year (COTY) this month, we reflect on the last 12 months of Gallant Gray, our 2017 COTY. It’s clear that Gallant Gray was an excellent choice as COTY, as Axalta’s Global Automotive 2017 Color Popularity Report shows that gray’s popularity increased in Asia, South America, and Europe, while holding strong in North America. We can’t take all the credit for that, but we like to think Gallant Gray had something to do with gray being a rock star color!

We kicked off our Gallant Gray campaign at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A Detroit Free Press story helped introduce Gallant Gray to the world. The story sparked much interest around this color space, and Gallant Gray was off and running. The celebration continued at the Auto Show where we unveiled Gallant Gray pedal cars (painted by our custom builder friends at MobSteel and students at Drive One Detroit) and debuted a Gallant Gray video. 

Gallant Gray pedal cars made an appearance at the North America International Auto Show

After the Auto Show it felt like Gallant Gray was everywhere. Events started around the world highlighting Gallant Gray at shows, customer meetings, and educational events. Gallant Gray was the first COTY on the racetrack since Jeff Gordon drove his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet with the inaugural COTY in 2014. Driver William Byron raced the No. 9 Axalta Chevrolet to victory lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with a sparkling Gallant Gray car. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Burtin Racing gave their No. 50 Chevrolet Camaro a distinct edge with a Gallant Gray paint scheme. And, of course Gallant Gray stole the show at the 2017 SEMA show in Las Vegas on a stunning 1965 convertible that was expertly restored by the Hot Rod Barn. Show goers agreed – Gallant Gray accentuated the beautiful lines of the classic American sports car.

Throughout the year we had fun on the Color Block blog looking at popular grays over the years (50 of them, in fact) and what comprises the anatomy of Gallant Gray.

The Anatomy of Gray post on the Color Block blog explained the parts of Gallant Gray

Though Gallant Gray will be missed, gray is here to stay! Axalta color experts predict it will increase on car builds worldwide in 2018. We first noticed this surge in gray popularity early in 2016 when our 2016 Global Color Popularity Report showed a steep drop for silver and a rise in gray. Moreover, gray and silver tied for third in global popularity behind white and black, the first and second most popular colors in the world, respectively. In 2017, the shift shows there is less of a margin between black and gray, but white still holds the number one spot on the charts by a large margin.


Gallant Gray may have started the year as an underdog, but for many of us it will be our favorite color of the year. So farewell, Gallant Gray. The 2018 COTY has some big, gray shoes to fill. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Taking a Look Back at 50 Automotive Shades of Gray

As Axalta continues its year-long celebration of Gallant Gray – the 2017 Automotive Color of the Year – we thought it would be interesting to look back on the recent history of gray and a popular list of 50 shades of automotive grays.

Since 1953, Axalta has been the leading company to publish data on auto color trends and popularity in our annual Color Popularity Reports -- that’s more than 60 years’ worth of reports.
In our first edition, green ranked number one, blue was two and gray was third (all North America data in 1953). In 2016, the tables turned quite a bit. White was the worldwide number one for the sixth consecutive year. Black was second, while silver and gray tied for third. Silver, overtaken by white as world number one in 2011, continues to slide globally.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” said Dan Benton, Axalta Color Marketing Manager. “That’s one of reasons that led us to Gallant Gray.”

Gray has always been a winning color


Benton acknowledges that silver and gray can be close. While Gallant Gray is a luxurious color enhanced with blue and silver flakes that provide a unique sparkle effect and dark undertones for a rich finish, conventional wisdom seems to call silver “shiny” and gray “dull.” Between 2000 and 2012, “silver/gray” was the most popular color in Europe just as it was in the Asia-Pacific region from 1973-1978.

We went back about 30 years and found 50 different grays from automakers. Notice how some are even named “silver” but their color formulations put them squarely in the gray family.

And yes, I am using the correct spelling gray from our offices just outside Detroit. Technically, both are acceptable … and I’d probably use “grey” if my office was in Europe or Australia.
The list is sorted by year first used, for no particular reason.

Have a favorite name? Did we miss one you love? Let us know in the comments section.

Company
Color Name
First Year Used
FORD
SILVER
1988
FORD
SILVER FROST
1994
BMW
TITANIUM SILVER
1997
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
PEWTER
1998
TOYOTA
SILVER
1998
FORD
DARK SHADOW GREY
2000
TOYOTA
SILVER SKY
2001
TOYOTA
PHANTOM GREY
2001
VOLKSWAGEN
PLATINUM GREY
2002
FORD
SILVER BIRCH
2002
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
LIGHT TARNISHED SILVER
2003
TOYOTA
SILVER
2003
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
DARK SPIRAL GRAY
2003
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
STEALTH GREY
2004
CHRYSLER
TUNGSTEN
2004
NISSAN
RADIANT SILVER
2004
MERCEDES
IRIDIUM SILVER
2004
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
GREYSTONE
2005
INFINITI
SILVER
2005
TOYOTA
MAGNETIC GREY
2006
TOYOTA
SLATE
2006
NISSAN
PRECISION GREY
2006
CHRYSLER
SILVER STEEL
2006
NISSAN
DARK SLATE
2007
NISSAN
PLATINUM GRAPHITE
2007
HONDA
POLISHED METAL
2008
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
CARBON FLASH
2008
HONDA
URBAN TITANIUM
2008
SUBARU
DARK GRAY
2008
SUBARU
STEEL SILVER
2008
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
SILVER ICE
2009
FORD
STERLING GREY
2009
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
CYBER GREY
2009
NISSAN
GUNMETAL GREY
2009
MAZDA
LIQUID SILVER
2009
HYUNDAI
SILVER
2009
NISSAN
SAHARA STONE SILVER
2009
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
MAGNA STEEL
2010
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
DARK LABYRINTH GRAY
2010
HYUNDAI
HARBOR GRAY
2010
NISSAN
GRAPHITE BLUE
2010
TOYOTA
WINTER GRAY
2010
CHRYSLER
DARK CHARCOAL
2010
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
SHEER SILVER
2010
ACURA
GRAPHITE LUSTER
2011
HYUNDAI
TITANIUM GRAY
2011
TOYOTA
DARK STEEL
2012
HYUNDAI
IRONMAN SILVER
2012
HYUNDAI
INDIGO NIGHT
2012
GENERAL MOTORS CORP
IRIDIUM
2013