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ORANGE, TO APPLE AND TANGO, FORD DESIGNERS ARE EXPANDING THEIR
PALETTE TO MATCH CUSTOMER TRENDS
It's called Electric Orange, and it's more
than just the signature colour for the new Focus ST. Electric
Orange is a unique, four-coat layer paint technology that brings
a depth and gloss that grow richer in bright sunshine.
The introduction of Electric Orange signals
a fresh burst of colour from the Ford of Europe design studios.
Do a survey of European roads and the most popular car colour
always comes up the same: silver or some version of it.
Now, Ford is expanding the Blue Oval colour palette to complement
a move toward more expressive vehicle design.
Apple, Tango, Viola, in addition to
Electric Orange, are among the new exterior colours that
consumers will find on the new Fiesta, Fusion and Focus ST . Bold
new colour choices are also on offer for the interiors of these
"Colour is an emotional image builder,
and as designers, we have to have a clear vision which message we
want to give to our customers," said Barbara Scheffler,
design manager colour and materials, Ford of Europe.
In the case of the new Fiesta and Fusion,
Ford is offering more distinctive exterior colours greens,
blues and oranges -- to suit the tastes of customers interested
in a fresh look.
" A variety of greens and blue-tinted
greens are coming to the palette, ranging from sporty and fruity
greens to darker, elegant tones," said Scheffler. "
Orange as a trend colour will be further seen in a very sporty
version, as well as in a darker warmer version."
Electric Orange is unique to the new Focus
ST . The colour, bright and rich at the same time, comes from a
special four-coat layer paint technology. Where cars typically
have two layers -- colour and clear coat -- Electric Orange
consists of four: the orange colour, a clear coat, a third "effect"
coat that is comprised of more minerals than regular metallic
paints, and finally a second clear coat to complete the process
and add a deeper tone. Ford's assembly plant in Saarlouis ,
Germany , where the Focus ST is built, added special painting and
application equipment to accomplish the effect.
Ford's European Design Group develops and
designs a palette of about 24 exterior colours. Due to the
changing lifestyles and emerging trends of today's global
society, as well as an increased diversification of customer
groups, automakers have increased the number and range of
vehicles offered. Ford alone has added seven new carlines during
the last ten years: Ka, StreetKa, Galaxy, Fusion, Focus C-MAX,
Tourneo Connect and there's more to come.
As a result, Ford's colour palette has
diversified significantly, especially in terms of high quality
paint technologies, like effect pigmentation or multi-coated
paint. Ten to twelve years ago, different shades of petrol blue-green
colours were a strong trend in the automotive palette. Today's
customers prefer bright effect pigment colours or sophisticated
The new blues, greens and oranges are part
of the "trend" group of colours created by Ford
designers. Generally, the brighter and more fashionable colours
are much more accepted within the Ford Ka and Fiesta segment than
in the Mondeo segment.
The 'trend' colours, among them currently
an ice blue called "Tonic," a turquoise blue called
"Aquarius" and a lemon green called "Sublime,"
can be changed after one or two years. They make up between 30
percent and 40 percent of Ford's colour line-up. "Very
elegant, dark-tinted silvers and sophisticated lemon silvers will
be appearing in the premium segment," said Scheffler.
"Trend colours will only find an
acceptance as an automotive colour if they are heavily conveyed
through their appearance in fashion, home decoration, furniture
and product designs, than they are part of our visually
recognized environment," said Scheffler.
The bulk of the colours at Ford
silver or tinted silvers, black, dark blue, red and dark green --
are called 'core' colours, as they constitute more than 40
percent of the carmaker's European p roduction. These colours are
kept for at least four years in the palette as they have a longer
life span than the so called 'trend' colours.
Another 25 percent of the palette is filled
with 'solid' colours, which do not have any special pigment like
metallic flakes or mica pigments. A high percentage of these
colours are ordered from fleet customers who often add their
company logo to the vehicle. A small number of different colours
are then reserved for the performance cars.
From architecture to fashion, Scheffler
believes the best designers are very aware of today's
environment, and have an intuitive feel for the way the market is
developing. At the same time, they need to possess an ability to
anticipate the future and project their imagination forward,
envisioning how a colour will enhance the exterior of a vehicle
years down the road.
"Colour if used correctly
can help to achieve a favorable reception of a product,"
said Scheffler. "Colour can evoke a stimulating excitement,
and can positively influence the purchasing decision."