Rsearch & Development

Bright hues, thick gloss, and shining ChromaFlair: Nissan orange is increasingly unique

The current orange in Nissan's lineup was developed to coincide with the launch of the Sentra SR.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's Sunset Drift ChromaFlair paint color isn't your usual choice. It's a bright and vibrant orange, not matte or candied, but attractive nonetheless. It's available on nine of the models in Nissan's North American lineup even though orange represents just four-tenths of one percent of the vehicles solid in the U.S.

The Japanese automaker's ties with the color orange run deep. Orange was layered onto the body of the 1970 Datsun 240Z, and it's available on the 2021 Nissan Rogue.

2017 Nissan GT-R Premium Katsura Orange This 2017 Nissan GT-R Premium wears Katsura Orange.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Today, Nissan offers more orange vehicles than any other automaker in the U.S. It's on the Altima, Leaf, Rogue Sport, Maxima, Versa, Kicks, Murano, Rogue, and Sentra. Hyundai sells the Veloster in Sunset Orange, the Kia Soul comes in Mars Orange, and Lamborghini offers a number of options that look like they came from a bag of Skittles including Arancio Argos, Arancio Xanto, and Arancio Borealis.

Nicole Fonseca, Senior Design Manager at Nissan loves the color orange and spends 90 percent of her workday at Nissan Design America outside San Diego making color decisions for vehicles that are coming to the company's lineup. "Orange is for a very specific customer," Fonseca said. "They're bold, confident and secure… and those are the same words we use when we're developing the different hues of orange at the design center."

Fonseca and her team are largely credited with having developed Sunset Drift. They wanted something bold.

"Orange evokes a feeling that no other color does, and I love to incorporate it into our designs," said Fonseca. "Your car is an extension of who you are, and color is a big part of that. It's the same as picking the colors for your nails, makeup or home – you do so to make a statement and show your personality."

Designers use renderings and real life models of new vehicles to determine if a paint colors is "right".Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The color was designed while work was underway on the current generation of the Nissan Altima, specifically their SR trim. One major component to achieving the look needed to make the Altima appear vibrant and saturated is a paint pigment known as Chromaflair. The trademarked ChromaFlair pigment makes the paint appear as different colors depending on the light source and view angle.

To test how the color will look on the cars in real life, Fonseca's team uses more than digital renderings. They spray full-size mock ups of vehicles with two color options, divided down the center, so they can review them simultaneously.

"We need to evaluate them in real life," Fonseca says. "Orange is very challenging to get just right. It can't be too yellow or too red. It has to have the perfect balance."

With Nissan launching 10 new products in the next 20 months, it's likely that a new version of the orange color is on its way. For its part, the company isn't saying much, just that "new hues and a bright future" are what color designers are working on now.

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Bugatti is selling just 40 Divos worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Only 40 Bugatti Divos will be made. Four of them were recently delivered to U.S. customers. The latest customized version of the supercar to be delivered by the French automaker pushed the limits of what the Bugatti craftspeople are capable of. As company founder Ettore Bugatti once said: "If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti."

Meet the Bugatti Divo named "Lady Bug".

The Divo premiered in 2018 and shortly thereafter a prospective buyer and noted collector from the U.S. approached Bugatti with an idea in mind. They wanted a strict geometric pattern that featured diamond shapes in a unique color contrast on their Divo. The Bugatti design and development team set about figuring out how to make that happen.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" design process

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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Two special metallic paint colors were developed: Customer Special Red and Graphite. The diamond pattern was designed to run precisely from the front over the sides to the rear – matching the silhouette of the Divo.

Bugatti's team spend a year-and-a-half to develop and implement the technical and graphic solutions the Divo owner required. Adding the diamonds to the car was far more complex than they expected. They would have to be painted onto the body with precision and exact definition.

What made it so hard? According to Bugatti, "the digital patterns in the CAD program bear little resemblance to reality: owing to the three-dimensional, sculptural form of the Divo with its contours, curves and ribs, the 2D-printed diamonds became distorted on the surface of the exclusive hyper sports car. As a result, they had to be digitally modified."

Being off by as little as one millimeter would ruin the entire visual effect. The total would be 1,600 diamonds by the time the pattern was fully executed.

Weeks later, designers discovered a way to match the CAD data with reality. They ended up being able to pull the film over the deeply concave surfaces of the Divo without the diamonds becoming distorted or developing folds.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" graphics application

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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During the pattern's development, a test car was used to perfect the pattern. After the initial steps of the application process were applied to the customer's Divo, Bugatti's team need to remove each diamond. Graphite paint and a clearcoat were applied on top of the effect paint in Customer Special Red in order to invert the pattern. As part of this process, the paintwork was sanded, smoothed, checked, retouched and then re-sanded. All in, the total time spent on the paint on the customer's car alone was two weeks.

"Every Bugatti Divo is one of a kind. With the custom-made 'Lady Bug', Bugatti has demonstrated the full range of its customization expertise. What initially seemed impossible was executed to perfection by the designers and developers in collaboration with the customer," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti."We are proud to have matched the customer's personal taste and expectations with this unique Divo. The car really demonstrates what the marque is capable of in terms of creativity and craftsmanship."

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug"

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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There were no changes to the car's W16 powertrain for the project.

Each Divo is priced at $5.6 million USD but buyers pay more depending on which options they choose. All Divos are produced by the Bugatti Alelier in Molsheim. The first deliveries of the supercar happened in August 2020. All models will hav been delivered by this spring.

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The Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of the models that can be found on the new CPO website.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Customers looking for certified pre-owned Alfa Romeos no longer need to pay a visit to their dealership, browse the lot, and keep their fingers crossed. The Italian automaker has launched a new version of its certified pre-owned vehicles website.

The new site allows buyers to locate, research, and purchase late-model certified pre-owned Alfas from wherever their smart device will connect to the internet.

Every Alfa Romeo certified pre-owned vehicle passes a certification process followed by a thorough reconditioning process using authentic Mopar parts. The certification process includes a 169-point inspection including a diagnostic review, service and maintenance background verification, and examination of the interior, exterior, undercarriage, unibody and multimedia.

The Alfa Romeo website now has a certified pre-owned vehicles section.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Certified Alfas are sold with a factory-backed five-year/100,000-mile Maximum Care Warranty that includes a $0 customer deductible that starts the date of the vehicle sale. Buyers can choose to upgrade that to an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. Maximum Care Warranties cover over 5,000 mechanical parts.

A CARFAX Vehicle History Report is also included, as is a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM.Twenty-four hour roadside assistance that includes flat tire service, gas delivery, battery-jump assistance, lockout service, towing service and rental car allowance is also part of the package.

As with a new vehicle, multiple financing options are available.

Don't want to shop in person? Alfa Romeo's E-Shop option allows buyers to locate, research and purchase vehicles from home, as well as take advantage of home delivery.

The updated website can now also be accessed via the homepage.

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