NEW YORK – The harvest of exterior color for Ford’s upcoming vehicles offers classic neutrals and strong earthy tones reflected in products from home furnishings to haute couture.
“The new colors coming on vehicles this year are fresh, rich and grounding,” said Susan Swek, group chief designer, Color & Material Design. “We don’t just choose a color and it winds up on a car. We study and understand how important color is to all kinds of our customers.”
New color choices arriving on the freshest vehicles from Ford include:
- Ginger Ale, which will be seen on the all-new Ford Escape when it debuts at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, was named for its energy and refreshing qualities. A classic gold neutral with slight green undertones, it’s found naturally in rocks, minerals and sandy beaches as well as jewelry, gems and textiles
- Kodiak Brown, named after Alaska’s Kodiak bear for its richness and strong presence, is a deep brown with slight warm highlights. The fashion industry pairs it as a neutral with black, caramels, blues and greens
- Frosted Glass, a signature color of the Ford Focus Electric, is an icy light green that elicits a sense of calm, relaxation and tranquility, remindful of a spa or warm tropical waters. Seen in the fashion world, from light shades of green to dark teal
“The technology available today has given us so many more options,” Swek said. “We are able to manipulate color, and play with the tones and shades and do absolutely remarkable things.”
These innovative colors are the result of hundreds of hours of work by today’s designers finding inspiration everywhere.
“We get ideas from nature, art, architecture, technology – everything,” said Swek. “We look at social influences, trend services, what’s selling now in a variety of industries and what has sold in the past.”
Ford designers work together globally on a timetable three years into the future. They also study all aspects of global culture to roadmap which vehicle colors should be popular at which time.
Color is worth the research time: “I’ve talked to dealers who’ve told me people have bought a car off the lot because of the color,” said Swek.
Research backs that up: Up to 40 percent of car buyers said they would walk out of a dealership if they could not buy a vehicle in the color they wanted.
Even the names of today’s colors are carefully developed.
“It’s important that the color name matches the personality of the vehicle,” said Swek. “Customers become emotionally connected to names. The name ‘Champagne’ is a lot different than the name ‘Sand,’ and all of that has to be carefully considered before a vehicle is ever presented to the public.”
Core colors, specialty offerings
A large group of customers prefers the basics, plain and simple. Despite an array of lush vehicle color offerings every year, most U.S. customers on the coasts and customers in most European countries prefer the classic core colors – white, black, silver and gray.
Silver is the most popular vehicle color around the globe. Customers in Japan, Mexico and India prefer white. Only one country in Europe has a top color other than white, black or silver: The Czech Republic chooses blue.
While Ford is always upgrading and modernizing the fundamentals, designers know there’s a specialty market for brilliant brights and warm neutrals.
When the Ford Fiesta launched in the U.S. in 2010, luscious paint choices like Lime Squeeze and Blue Flame were in high demand, showing that both the basics and the bright could coexist.
“Color is a simple way to allow people to add a personal touch to their lives,” said Swek. “It’s something that speaks to them and expresses a little bit of their personality.”
This year, consumers already have seen sneak peeks of what’s to come. The 2013 Ford Taurus, revealed at the New York Auto Show, was displayed in striking new Ruby Red Tinted Clearcoat, showing that Ford is offering a painter’s palette of the perfect blend.
“We think this season we’ll definitely have something to please everyone,” said Swek.