The GM division’s color czar was in town to talk about Chevrolet’s program around bespoke tones for its Spark and Sonic cars. In essence, the Chevy is offering three-month runs of colors like Deep Magenta and Cool Blue as a way to bring young people into the brand and create some excitement.
Sharon Gauci, GM's global trend and color director, said exterior hues are not an afterthought, or the final touch that might tip a shopper toward buying the car. "It's one of the major reasons people buy a car. For cars like Sonic we have a younger, youthful demographic who is willing to embrace color to be individualists, to be different and stand out, so that's a real opportunity to dial up color."
The company has dedicated design teams working on the next big color and and seven studios around world in India, China, Korea, Australia, the U.S. and Brazil all working on being seers around figuring the hot color to come, noted Gauci. "We are working on 2017 now, so it's designing color for long view -- model year plus longevity." The inspirations for colors are diverse, coming from cosmetics, fashion, even food. "It could be a feeling of place, an inspiration from what we see or what's happening in couture; we take all of those to create the next generation of color. At the same time we are designing what textures will be inside the car, the wheel finish, new fabrics, design work, what the leather is going to look like. It's looking at all influences in the world around us."
She said small cars are great for the exercise even though one of the colors being applied to Sonic and Spark is a green that is currently an option on the Camaro. "We are finding color and design tend to be real differentiators across the brand, so to be competitive we need to be offering that -- focusing on color."
The company started with Electric Pink, which launched on the Spark. Deep Magenta is running for three months, then Cool Blue in November and, next year, Bright "sorbet" Green. Gauci said that one of the parameters for color choice is how the hue will work with the lines and creases of exterior design, noting that the wrong color washes those lines out completely, making the body look flat. "Dressing a vehicle is like dressing s person; you have to understand a person's shape and form."