At BMW, environmental protection is about more than just electrification or the environment.
The color green is also in vogue in 2023 – in all its nuances – as the latest fashion trend flows into the showrooms.
There’s even a connection to Australia, as one of the BMW X1’s newest green hero colors is called Cape York.
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“For me, the hottest color this year is green. In all different shades,” head of BMW color and material design Annette Baumeister told CarExpert.
The long-time head of style at the BMW Group spoke from her office in Munich and outlined the future color direction of the BMW and Mini brands.
She sees great interest and potential for environmentally friendly machines across the automotive world, and not just in sports cars, which have traditionally taken on a touch of verdant green.
“We weren’t sure we could make this change. But we did it and that’s great,” she said.
“I’m not just talking about our company. I see a lot of beautiful green tones in other cars too.
“It’s great to see these greens. And also shades of gray with a touch of green.”
The green trend started at BMW two years ago and is expected to continue beyond 2025, although Ms Baumeister admits the tried-and-tested favorites – white, red, black – still make up the majority of new car sales.
“A few years ago we asked, ‘What is the new white?’ Because we were so tired of white.
“So we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if the green came back?'” We tried. This is what we have to do.”
Knowing how important car colors are to potential buyers, Ms. Baumeister told CarExpert that trends in auto body paint usually follow the direction dictated by fashion and interior design.
“We really have to do very visionary research for trend colors. To make sure we get to the right point,” she said.
“Fashion is usually always the first to create new trends. Then interior design.
“Cars are sometimes a little late. We look at these areas for inspiration. If there is a trend, it always hits the car a little later.”
She said the rise of green could reflect a search for something with greater impact.
“The color influences the character. Exterior colors are something you might notice when you drive somewhere. This way they can point out something special,” she said.
However, she says automakers also need to be careful not to reach a dead end when it comes to color.
“For that kind of money, you want to be sure that it really is a trend. “It’s not like a shirt where you can buy a new shirt if you don’t like the color,” she said.
BMW has a long history, dating back to the 1970s, of using bold greens, usually for its fast M car models, but Ms Baumeister said the new 21st century move was more subtle.
“It’s very much technology-driven. It’s not just about color,” she said.
“It’s not just beauty. It’s a lot about technology.”
Nevertheless, the powerful M colors continue to be the focus of green.
“We are currently thinking about the new M colors. We all saw these very bright colors,” she said.
“Now the color is a little more sophisticated. The effects we want to create. It goes in this lighter direction.”
She sees no end to the use of matte paint or metallic colors, but said there is always a push to add something special.
“We have to come up with something feasible – it’s not easy. We want to make sure we create something of high quality that will last forever. Then the industrialization process occurs,” she said.
Ms. Baumeister said increasing electrification was also sparking new thoughts about color.
“Colors are influenced. . . through the story we want to tell,” she said.
“Maybe it’s a different color and it depends on what the connection is and how you link it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be blue or green.”
Looking further ahead, she said there will be a trending color that will follow green – but she won’t discuss it.
“We’re not that concerned with developing new green spaces. Not for appearance,” she said.
“What we are investigating is this ‘subtlety.’ As you can see from the show car (Vision Neue Klasse), what matters most is the effect.”
After many years in black BMWs, she has just switched to silver for her personal company cars.
“I don’t have a favorite color. I try to choose colors that I think are modern. I want to make a modern statement,” she said.
And what about the “Cape York” green?
“This color is something very special. This is a great sage,” she said.
“This color is fantastic on the Mini and now we’ve done it on the 5 Series. It is a completely different color and the car looks completely different than in white and black.
“Sometimes it looks a little more blue and sometimes it looks a little more green. It brings out the best in the exterior.”