When Chevrolet came knocking on BASF’s door to develop a futuristic paint for the FNR concept car, BASF willingly accepted the challenge; however, finding that perfect color can sometimes prove difficult.
So BASF’s Coating division quickly went to work, creating a metallic, blackish blue color called Mid-Night Glimmer, which ultimately became the top contender in the eyes of Shanghai General Motors and Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC). But once the design and color was finalized, timing was tight because the grand debut at Auto Shanghai was just a week away.
Under normal circumstances, it can take over a month to prepare and apply material to a concept vehicle. And, in this case, there were two experimental pigments which further complicated the process. Even so, BASF was still able to meet the incredibly short window. This was accomplished by reaching across the global network. The OEM Coatings team worked with the automotive Refinish group to develop this stunning color in a small batch.
“This was not only a chance to help our customer and colleagues succeed but it was also an opportunity to showcase our team’s work to the world,” said Paul Whittleston, vice president of Business Management Automotive Refinish and Industrial Coatings, BASF. “Not achieving the spectacular look was never an option. The team’s passion and expertise, along with our strong performing paint, made our success possible.”
Timing was already tight but to make things more interesting, this futuristic color required the creation of never before used effect pigments to achieve the desired look and dimension. Working hand-in-hand, BASF’s OEM and Refinish team used their expertise in color science and formulation to propel this project forward.
And, the paint itself had quite the journey before making its way onto the vehicle. First, the paint formulation, including the unique pigmentation, was created in Southfield, Mich. The paint was then tested at the BASF Whitehouse facility in Ohio. Finally, it was shipped to Fountain Valley, Calif. where the car was painted.
Luckily, since the clock was ticking, BASF had one of the best paint brands on its side when it came time to spray the vehicle. Using R-M paint, the show car could be painted in record time since the paint offers the best performance in the least amount of time. With quick dry times, there is no waiting around watching paint dry. Instead, by the time the gun is switched over from base coat to clear coat, the paint has already dried in ambient temperatures such as California’s.
The final step – ship the shiny, beautified car back to Shanghai for its prime-time debut.
“We are proud to contribute to the striking exterior design of the Chevrolet-FNR concept car with our innovative color and coating,” said Dr. Thierry Herning, general manager of BASF Shangahi Coatings. “It can only be achieved by the joint efforts of our global Coatings team. This is another success story of our excellent partnership with Shanghai General Motors and PATAC.”