By Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Color Marketing Manager
We have had a fabulous time introducing Axalta’s North American Automotive Color of the 2016 – Brilliant Blue – to the world. From our kickoff at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, to talking about it with Jeff Gordon and students at the University of Michigan (Maize and Blue, Go Blue!) to discussing the shade’s hue and inspiration with OEM customers globally, Brilliant Blue is a hot topic.
Personally, I have talked to more media, more customers and more car color fanatics than I can count…and I hope it never stops! There is a common question that comes up in many of these discussions: why blue?
The answer is part art, part research, part history and all brilliant.
On the art side, the Axalta team selected this mid-shade blue that has both depth and vividness with slight turquoise highlights. It is made with Axalta’s high-chroma Vermeera® technology. This multi-layer process provides both an intense blue color and a unique sparkle effect. Pretty smart, right? We wanted a formula that would catch your eye, and I would argue we got it right.
Axalta’s annual Global Automotive Color Popularity Report provides a variety of research. The report is the most comprehensive of its kind. The 2015 edition, which was released last fall, showed some facts about blue that influenced our decision. For example, in North America, blue increased in popularity to a total of eight percent of sales due to the increased use of the color on compact/sport and intermediate/crossover utility vehicles. Meanwhile, in Europe, blue came in at nine percent with a lot of interest in mid-shade blues. Worldwide, blue remained steady over 2014, while other rich colors fell off a bit.
We also referred to Axalta’s first 60 years of color reporting in a report titled, Six Decades of Colorful Automotive Performance. The exhaustive research that comprised the report showed some historical good times for blue. From 1955 through 1958, the most popular hue in the U.S. was blue. Yes, you read it correctly.
It repeated the win in ’60 and ’61, in ’66 and 67, from ’76 through ’79, 81 through ’83, and finally 85 through ’88. (On the contrary, in ’96 and ’97 blue didn’t crack the top five while a shade of green took the top honors.) So blue does have a highlight reel and perhaps its rich history was simply ready for a comeback.
So, that’s our recipe: four cups art, two parts research and a full can of history get you Axalta’s North American Automotive Color of the Year 2016.
We will continue to enjoy Brilliant Blue throughout 2016, then, we’ll make way for a 2017 Color of the Year. And if history has anything to say about, I am willing to bet that blue will make a come back again.