With the all-new Opel Astra and the Opel Mokka, the German automaker has not only developed two new vehicles but also created two exciting new paint colors. For such powerful design statements as the award-winning Mokka and the all-new Astra, Opel decided on vivid, eye-catching new colors: Green for the Mokka and Yellow for the Astra.
“Colors for automobiles must not only satisfy the customer, but they must also match the car’s size and shape”, explains Nicole Heidt, Assistant Chief Designer, Color & Trim. “A compact-class model like the Astra is best suited by sophisticated mica or metallic colors that are also highly popular among the customers in that market segment.”
Right at the start of the development of the new Astra, the Opel marketing team informed design that they wanted the 6th generation of the best-selling Astra to be available in Yellow, which has a long-standing tradition as the color of the brand.
As usual with an all-new color, Nicole Heidt began the creation process with research into color trends using professional tools. Also adding her own experience, she started to think about creating a new darker tone of Yellow for the Astra. Nicole then took her ideas to design’s own paint shop whereas when creating a new meal – she personally designed the “recipe” for the new color.
Using a 200-milliliter beaker and a few grams of various automotive refinishing paints from a leading supplier, she mixed the “ingredients” together until the result matched her idea.
Next, the designer prepared a “mood board” – a collage of images – and color swatches to present the new color to design management and marketing. Following their approval, Nicole then made samples for the supplier of the paint to the Rüsselsheim plant, whose final product must match the design idea and color swatches as closely as possible for serial production.
The process of developing a new color for a new model can take up to four years, and the finalized new paint must be “ready to spray” by robots 12 months before the start of production. “The Yellow we chose as the launch color for the new Astra at the start of the process has proved bang on target”, says Nicole Heidt. “Such colors are trending strongly now.”
In the case of the Mokka, a subcompact crossover with a younger customer profile than the new Astra’s, Opel sought a bold, sporty new color. Nicole Heidt’s research showed that Green tones were trending strongly. “Green is also the perfect color for an emissions-free, battery electric vehicle such as the Mokka-e”, she adds.
Electrified vehicles such as the battery-electric Opel Mokka-e or the new Astra as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) are just two ways that the German car manufacturer contributes to sustainable mobility. The paintwork has its own role to play too. For example, the new Astra’s “Kult Yellow” is applied at the Rüsselsheim production plant where emissions from the paint shop have been significantly reduced. The facility currently uses the “3-wet” paint method, which removes one complete drying step from the process. Compared with conventional paint processes, this cuts annual CO2 emissions by around 2,200 tons while still providing high levels of protection from corrosion and stone chipping. In addition, annual water consumption is lowered by around 1,800 cubic meters.