Paint

It took four years for Volkswagen to develop a fresh paint take on British Racing Green

Volkswagen specifically developed the new Racing Green paint for the 2021 Atlas.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

It can take five years or more to design a vehicle. Every nut and bolt, every weld, every piece of plastic and carpet has to be planned. Hours are spent with engineers and designers trying to meet in the middle while program managers attempt to keep them on budget.

One of the most often overlooked aspects of vehicle development is paint colors. It's the first thing people see when they look at the vehicle but most of them don't know how long it takes to develop just the right paint color. In the case of Volkswagen's new Racing Green, it took four years.

Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp Styling Package The green hue is a fresh take on British Racing Green. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The idea was formulated after gathering extensive market research and the input of VW employees from around the world. Volkswagen officially started the extensive process in 2017 at its North American Region designers. The team received a design brief after initial discussions at Volkswagen's HQ in Wolfsburg, Germany. The brief included information about the market and customer profile of the vehicle.

That profile was of an Atlas owner. Those that purchase the largest SUV in VW's lineup typically use their spacious model to run errands, transport up to seven, and perform daily tasks like commuting. While the vehicle must stand up to the wear and tear of daily life while delivering a competitive mass market price tag,

Volkswagen's designers understood that Atlas owners also want an emphasis on style. Though white is the most popular midsize SUV color in North America making up about 25 percent of sales, Atlas owners would be open to a new color that was both timeless and traditional. Red and blue are also popular colors, each claiming about 10 percent of sales.

The North American design team also looked at the vehicle's overall character. According to Volkswagen, "As a larger SUV, the Atlas tends to look best with understated colors that make it look more discreet. Bold colors can be overwhelming on larger models like the Atlas but can be a great fit for sportier models like the Golf GTI."

Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp Styling Package Volkswagen's team was charged with making a paint color that would work well for such a large vehicle- a big challenge. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The team's next step included pouring over hours of trend research and studying the market in an effort to predict what could be popular four years in the future.

"At the time, green was being adopted in industries like fashion, cosmetics, and interior design," said Jung Lim Park, Senior Color & Trim Designer at the Design Center California. "When consumers are willing to invest in a color by painting their living room walls green or buying a green couch, it is a good indication they will be willing to follow a similar trend in their next vehicle."

After receiving the North American designers' recommendations, designers and developers in Wolfsburg planed the model's color palette as well as develop and test colors that do not yet exist in the Volkswagen palette.

Designers also researched past color palettes. They discovered that a shade of Racing Green had bee used on the fifth-generation Passat from the 1990s.

According to VW,

"Racing Green is a similar shade to British Racing Green, which has been a popular enthusiast color in the automotive industry. The color came into existence during the turn of the 20th century when the Gordon Bennett Trophy was an international competition for automobile racing, and the national entries were differentiated by color. Cars competing in the Trophy were color coded by the country they represented: blue for France, black for Italy, red for the United States, white for Germany, and green for England. The first successful English car, a Napier, was painted a very dark shade of green that was at first called Napier Green, then British Racing Green when it was used by different automakers."

Designers settled on a new version of Racing Green for the Atlas after initially considering it for the 2020 Passat. While the new color may share a name with previous colors, it has an entirely different paint code and appearance.

Volkswagen describes what makes it different: "Previous VW models sporting the namesake color were direct callbacks to the classic British Racing Green, but the new color is a modern adaptation of it—the designers gave the classic color a darker hue and more metallic appearance to meet modern color trends."

Once the colors were developed and planned, a preselection workshop was held to facilitate a cross-functional company decision. That's fancy corporate talk for "getting all the integral players to the table." For the Atlas, that meant going to Puebla, Mexico for a workshop that included the Atlas product planning team, G3 (large vehicle) marketing, purchasing, and controlling. There, designers presented the color choices and received feedback.

The story doesn't end with the assembled personnel just selecting the new Racing Green. It ends with a new dark Mauro Brown interior color that was specifically requested by dealers. Racing Green was presented alongside Cypress Green and Burgundy Red. Cypress Green and Burgundy Red were ruled out.

The reason Racing Green made the cut is little more complex than "just because they like it." Unlike metallic colors that require two pipelines in the paint shop for application, Racing Green only requires one. The Atlas is produced at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, which has a paint shop that utilizes water-based priming technology resulting in only one pipeline being installed. Racing Green could easily be added to the paint rotation without a plant investment expenditure.

It passed the budget test. Then the recommendation was passed on to executives in the North American region, who signed off on it and sent their decision to the desks of Klaus Bischoff and Oona Scheepers, heads of VW design and trim, agreed on the final decision.

And now, here we are. Racing Green has a new life on the 2021 Atlas as a hue that gets darker green the closer you get to the car. It has a metallic finish that gives it a glossy and premium look.

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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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Electric vehicle features

The VW ID.4 sounds futuristic

The ID.4 is VW's first electric crossover in the U.S.

VW

The Volkswagen ID.4 is finally here. The electric crossover offers compelling features, decent all-electric range, and a reasonable price. On top of all that, Volkswagen focused heavily on the electric experience with the ID.4, down to the sounds it makes in everyday operation.

Where many automakers seek to humanize electric vehicles with familiar gas engine sounds, Volkswagen hasn't bothered with any of that. Instead, the automaker's ID.4 electric crossover features several sounds that embrace the EV's place in the future of transportation.

On startup, drivers are greeted with a sound that Volkswagen says will alert them that the vehicle is ready to go. It's not at all unlike the flying saucer sounds heard in sci-fi movies decades ago, but it's a nice reminder of the ID.4's future-forward drivetrain.



In motion, VW gave the ID.4 what is known as an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, which helps alert people to the presence of a moving electric vehicle. Since the drivetrain doesn't make the same noises that a gas engine does, EVs can move almost silently at low speeds, so it's important to have some kind of warning sound.

Even the turn signal sounds received scrutiny in the ID.4's design, and while they're still fairly traditional, the sounds are subtle and pleasing overall. Beyond that, VW says it developed a library of sounds for typical vehicle control buttons and other functions that are exclusive to its electric vehicles. The goal, according to the automaker, is that the sound aligns with the vehicles' character, visual design, and features, and that people will be able to recognize a VW EV by its unique sound.

The ID.4 is just the first of several EVs that Volkswagen plans to release here in the United States. Larger family vehicles are on the horizon, and we may even see an electric revival of the legendary VW bus.

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