Sunday, 30 September 2007 17:00

Ford Taking the Science and Art of Color to New Level

Written by Autobody News staff
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How important is color when it comes to buying a vehicle? According to Ford Motor Company research, 39 percent of consumers say they will walk out of a dealership if it doesn’t have a vehicle they want in their color of choice.

To help lead customer paint trends, Ford has launched a new process, integrating dealers, designers and marketing, manufacturing and vehicle operations experts aiming to create the best paint color palette for customers nationwide. By 2009, 45 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles by volume will feature new paint colors, marking the biggest color changeover in Ford’s history.

1. Color of the Year – Ford is turning up the heat with a custom deep, spicy red – called Candy Apple Red – featured on the 2008 Ford Mustang. Confident and aimed at the design-savvy consumer, this hot hue takes its cue from Chili Pepper, which world-renowned color authority Pantone named Color of the Year.

2. Meet the New Black – For the 2008 model year, black is the new black. Ford has created a new, industry-leading pigment named Tuxedo Black that will launch on the all-new Lincoln MKS flagship sedan. This deep metallic, like a set of jewels, isn’t an ordinary metallic that is composed of mica flakes but instead has a new flake derived from glass. Because this glass pigment radiates such a beautiful sparkle, less of this special flake has to be added, providing a black that glistens like never before.

3. Eat It Up – Ford’s food-inspired vehicle color collection expands, too. The paints are named after edibles that designers know taste good, look delicious and evoke a mouth-watering juiciness. Whether customers have a sweet tooth or are looking for a little spice, Ford’s 2008 vehicles are creating an appetite with new colors including Candy Apple Red, Dark Cherry, French Silk, Light Sage, Kiwi Green, Merlot, Orange Frost and White Chocolate.

4. Wellspring – Inspired by the tones and shades of water found in nature, wellspring hues of pale greens and frosty blues top this season’s palette, as well. Two of the top-selling colors on the new Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner and the hybrid versions are Kiwi Green metallic and Ice Blue metallic. Additionally, a new opaque metallic that mirrors foliage, called Moss Green, is offered on the Lincoln MKZ and other sedans for 2008.

5. Density Rich – Weighty metallics aren’t just reserved for handbags, shoes and jewelry this season. Select Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles will appear even more chic in an all-new smoky-silver metallic, called Vapor, and an incandescent bronze, called Earth.

6. Say Goodbye to Refrigerator White – Long gone are the days of white vehicles that look like ordinary kitchen appliances. White is making a comeback – now that Ford has developed a natural hue without being pasty or stark. Ford’s great white effort started with the 2007 model year’s creamy White Chocolate tri-coat metallic. On average, more than 30 percent of Lincoln customers chose this premium paint color. For 2008, Lincoln is offering the color White Suede across the lineup, offering customers a hue that delivers the sparkle of a metallic in a soothing pigment. White remains the top auto color of choice for consumers in 29 out of 50 states.

7. Savoring Savories – Exuberant, energizing hues are back by popular demand. For instance, Blazing Copper – the trend color launched on the Ford Edge in 2007 – returns. A success in the market, this trendy hue was chosen by nearly 10 percent of Edge customers for their new crossovers last year – doubling traditional feature color take rates – and it remains hot for the 2008 model year.

8. Paint Quality: More than Meets the Eye – Ford’s paint performance has only 91 TGWs (things gone wrong) compared with Toyota’s 103, according to an RDA Research study released in July.

9. Say No to Sludge – Industry-wide, 24 million pounds of paint overspray are consolidated into non-hazardous sludge and taken to landfills each year. Ford is developing a new anti-corrosion technology that will reduce paint sludge production by 90 percent and reduce water use by 40 percent. Ford is currently field-testing the new technology in a small fleet of Lincoln Town Cars.

10. Eco-Friendly Paint Technologies – Industry-wide, 70 million pounds of paint fumes are collected and destroyed by traditional pollution abatement systems each year. Two Ford technologies are reducing greenhouse gases. Fumes-to-Fuel at Oakville Assembly will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 88 percent and eliminate NOx emissions. And Three-wet paint technology at Ohio Assembly is reducing CO2 emissions by 15 percent. U-Haul trucks are currently on U.S. highways, field-testing the technology’s long-term durability.


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