Axalta Coating Systems announced the release of StarLite, its 2018 Automotive Color of the Year. StarLite is a modern, technology-savvy, premium color for vehicles of today and tomorrow. Born from Axalta’s ChromaDyne line of color coats developed for automotive OEMs, StarLite is a light and reflective hue that uses Axalta’s tri-coat process, which is formulated with synthetic pearl flakes to create an eye-catching pearlescent effect. It is a sophisticated color that is designed to look great on all vehicle sizes while also providing functional benefits.
“From a popularity perspective, there will never be a better year to highlight StarLite as an automotive pacesetter,” said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta global color marketing manager. “While we see white cars everywhere, the rise in popularity of pearlescent pigments that reflect light underscores StarLite’s role as a modern, luxury color.”
Axalta’s recently released 2017 Global Automotive Color Popularity Report, which documents vehicle color trends by geography, reported white as the No. 1 color in the world for the seventh consecutive year. Globally, nearly 40 percent of buyers chose white in 2017, which is up two full percentage points from 2016. White surpassed black, the second most popular color globally by 23 percent. Pearlescent white, the category that includes StarLite, grew four percentage points to 13 percent overall in 2017.
“Highly reflective colors can contribute to the functionality of driverless vehicles because lighter colors, like StarLite, are more easily detectable by LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems,” Lockhart said. “So, while StarLite may not apply to all autonomous detection systems, Axalta believes these shades will become increasingly important to automakers.”
Automakers consider many factors when designing a vehicle, including how to protect it from harsh road conditions and environments, safety, emission outputs and fuel efficiency. Researchers at the Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area showed how a vehicle’s color affects fuel economy and emissions. Berkeley Lab’s tests found that using white or similar paint instead of black paint could enable manufacturers to downsize a car’s air conditioner and raise fuel economy by 2 percent, decrease CO2 emissions by 1.9 percent, and reduce other automotive emissions by about 1 percent.
“This research appears to support what we felt all along; StarLite is a cool color,” said Lockhart.
Axalta will kick off the celebration of StarLite during the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Preview Days in Detroit. NAIAS highlights include a video reveal at the EyesOn Design awards program on Jan. 16, 2018. The color will also be prominently featured at the Axalta-sponsored Charity Preview on Jan. 19, which is the largest single-night fundraiser in the U.S.