Automotive & Transportation

BASF's 2020-2021 Automotive color trends

Each year, the designers from BASF conduct global research, uncovering overarching trends and regional differences that impact society today and determine how those sentiments will influence customers' vehicle color preferences down the road. The designers then translate the findings into concept colors, which are inspirational starting points for vehicle manufacturers and expected to be prominent color choices in three to five years.


CODE-X 2020-2021

Under the title CODE-X, BASF’s brand Automotive Color Trends presents unique colors from new, reimagined whites, to the darkest of jet blacks, and everything in-between. The colors of the 2020-2021 collection serve as inspiration to automotive designers for vehicles that will be on the road in three to five model years. This collection projects a positive mood. As new thinking drives big transitions in the values around society, identity, and progress, this collection blends the physical and digital worlds to help us cope.


CODE-X makes the present moment shine, with an eye to the new future of mobility.

The collection displays a variety of shades and effects in different color areas, and offers innovative concepts that interwine surface, texture, and color. These colors are smooth and familiar, yet some will still surprise and delight the viewer. So many things have changed in the world around us. Faced with that change, this collection shows a fascination for the unknown, with an overriding sense of realistic positivity for the future, and willingness to work toward new goals.

AP_Social Camouflage_ACT.JPG

Designed in Asia Pacific

This nuanced grayish green is the translation of the floating free mind and anonymous style of a whimsical younger generation. In- between green and blue, Social Camouflage stakes out a color position that’s natural, but not pure. Not really light or dark, it is a colored neutral with floating effects that can be smoky, depending on the angle. The cool color represents flexible values and behaviors that will change the world in a positive manner.


Realistic and positive
Color trends Asia Pacific

In recent years, the people of Asia Pacific have become realistic and positive. They began to accept and enjoy changes in technology, materials, and things around them. People adapt and change to meet their challenges with positivity and grace, looking forward to a better future, even as they are struggling. Asia Pacific’s key colors reflect a positive flexible attitude for change, action, and the future. They are warm and emotional colors. They are not black or white, but more blurred and floating, like human emotion.

Individuality is the trend in play here. We live for today and want to make the future better. We try to enjoy life and be positive as much as possible and change what we did in the past.”

Chiharu Matsuhara

Head of design, Asia Pacific

EMEA_Pundits Solution_ACT.JPG

Designed in EMEA

How do you remake a color in the beige space? You create a surprising and bold reimagination of color. Pundits Solution is fully neutral in the beige area – but a much warmer color position that’s uniquely different, and distinctively younger. It features a strong gold sparkle effect that makes it warmer, extraordinary, and strange. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before.


Leaving the beaten path
Color trends EMEA

Faced with change, we now have the chance to reflect with new clarity and do things differently. The younger generation of people in EMEA wants to challenge that standard mode by leaving the beaten path. They want to have a radical impact without screaming that it is radical. They want to adapt society to them, which speaks to how we consume. The key colors of EMEA are soothing, calming colors with bold, new, distinct positions. There’s a huge variety of effects in these colors that are inescapable, yet approachable. There are things you can see, things you can explore, and things that you can be surprised by.

We are in a time when nothing is the same. We may reference the old colors, but add something new, something different. This collection is reprogramming the world.”

Mark Gutjahr

Head of Automotive Color Design, EMEA

NA_Dark Seltzer_ACT.JPG

Designed in North America

This color space pushes the boundaries and challenges the norms of gray. Dark Seltzer is coarser, with an interplay of color complements. Technology and design merge with a playful tug-of-war between texture and hue. The result is bolder with a more interactive approach. The color signals the new normal: nothing is mundane; everything has an important story.


Deep Techno-Sophistication
Color trends North America

North Americans have highly complex and demanding expectations of themselves, their communities, their industries, and their governments. They look for rapid advances in technology to overcome obstacles and solve problems. Despite the chance for failure, people have the innate ability to process information and channel it into solutions. Surprising designs flow from their fascination with the unknown. Instead of stoking fear, this wisdom increases confidence. North America’s future color designs look to build off advancing colorant technologies that exhibit a greater sensitivity to the environment. Grace and simplicity will be the look of deep techno-sophistication.

It’s not unusual to presuppose technological stewardship dominates research, but it’s refreshing to see just how much the consumer is willing to forego traditional norms of beauty in order to satisfy the hunger for smart and responsible color designs.”

Paul Czornij

Head of design, North and South America

BASF’s 2020-2021 Automotive Color Trends collection

Color expertise of the Coatings division

Every year, the designers of BASF’s Coatings division study future trends which they use as foundation for the development of surface, texture and color positions. This enables the automotive designers to develop the colors of the future.

Additional information on Automotive Color Trends 2020-2021 in the press kit or in our news releases.