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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Tanner Foust has worn many hats but one of his best-known roles is as a stunt driver in the Jason Bourne movies.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Tanner Foust is more than just a four-time Rallycross Champion, multi-time X Games gold medalist, World Indoor Speed Record holder, and former host of the American version of "Top Gear". He's also Jason Bourne.

While Bourne is traditionally played by a Hollywood superstar during closeups, it is Tanner Foust in the role of the fictitious secret agent in many of the films driving scenes in two of the movies, "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "The Bourne Legacy".

"Some of the stunt guys can light themselves on fire, have a martial arts battle on top of a building and then jump off it," Foust told Top Gear Philippines in 2012 while he was in Malina filming "The Bourne Legacy". "But it's difficult for stunt guys to really develop an auto racing technique. It's's a specialty and it's expensive when you crash a car so I'm lucky enough to get to crash cars all the time."

Tanner Foust Volkswagen racing Foust's other role is as a Volkswagen ambassador.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Foust's skills have also put him behind the wheel as a stunt driver in "Iron Man 2", "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw", and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" among others. For his efforts, Foust has been thrice nominated for trophies at the Taurus World Stunt Awards.

When he's not on movie sets, the 46-year old Foust spends much of his time behind the wheel of Volkswagens. He is the company's R brand ambassador. As part of that role, he is actively involved in the coordination and approval process for new Volkswagen R vehicles.

"Tanner Foust is a man of many talents. Of course, it's his skills behind the wheel that stand out the most. With his positive mindset and infectious passion for sporty cars, he is also a really likeable guy. Tanner is a great fit for us and represents everything that Volkswagen R stands for around the globe—in a charismatic and authentic manner," says Jost Capito, Managing Director at Volkswagen R. "His expertise is also a genuine advantage for the development and optimization of R models."

His latest test car is the eR1, a model designed for a 100-percet electric racing car based on the body of a Volkswagen Golf. "The future of Volkswagen and motorsport is electric," says Foust.

Recently, Volkswagen Group board member Jurgen Stackmann echoed what Foust said, telling Top Gear that, "The future of R needs to be, and will be, electric." "We're still working," he continued, "on what we started two and half years ago – which was obviously not electric, though exciting – but the work going forward is and will be electrified."

The Group has not made it a secret that their push toward electrification and electric vehicles is a top priority for the company. From Bentley to Audi to Volkswagen, the push is on in earnest whether for electrified or fully electric vehicles.

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This unique Bentley was designed as part of a contest.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

What's the best Bentley color option? Now, you don't have to choose. A unique Bentley Mulliner Bacalar combines seven different colors for one unique look.

The car was designed by a contestant named Eleanor who submitted the entry as part of a recent online competition for Bentley colleagues and their families to design their own Bentley Mulliner Bacalar. The Barchetta-style Bacalar marks the reintroduction of the marque as a bespoke automaker. This particular pant job will reproduced in real life on the exterior a limited run of 12 models.

From rich reds through vibrant mid-tones through to energetic blues and purples, these are the seven colors that make up the rainbow paint job with descriptions provided by Bentley:

Dragon Red II

Bentley Bentayga

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

An arresting and distinguished metallic red, evoking a sense of speed and presence. The first iteration was used to launch the original Continental GT V8 in 2012, and in its second version Dragon Red II remains a deep and rich colour regardless of the tone of the light that illuminates it, and was used as the launch colour for the Bentayga V8.

Orange Flame

Bentley Speed

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Orange Flame matches other vivid palette colours such as Citric and Magenta in its ability to make the boldest of statements. Mixed with Mica pigment and powdered aluminum, Orange Flame is painted in a single layer, topped with a clear coat, cured and then finished with a 'mirror finish' polish. It provides exceptional contrast across the muscular curves and sharp lines of the Bentley range, and was used to launch the Bentayga Speed.

Yellow Flame

Bentley Mulliner Bacalar

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

A unique colour created for the recently launched, limited edition Bentley Mulliner Bacalar – Bentley's return to coachbuilding – providing an incredibly striking example of how the luck 12 Bacalar customers could specify their car. Using a 'colourstream' pigment containing rice husk ash, a byproduct of the rice industry, this specially developed paint reflects a striking transition of colour that intensifies the drama of the form and contours of the Bacalar exterior.

Apple Green

Bentley Continental

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

A fresh, modern hue in the green spectrum, Apple Green is a bespoke Bentley colour that provides a striking pop of confident colour.

Jetstream II

Bentley Continental

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

A light, very fine, almost powder blue metallic finish that can transition between a cool silver in warm light to and a soft, elegant blue in cooler light. Both sporting and luxurious, this shade is perfect for those looking to make a bold statement and pairs incredible well with Bentley's Blackline Specification, replacing exterior chrome brightware with black versions.

Sequin Blue

Bentley Continental GT

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

One of Bentley's most iconic colours, Sequin Blue was originally a special request from a customer to match the colour of a sequin from her favourite ball gown. This is a bespoke rich metallic blue with a deep shadow and 'flop' (how a metallic paint reflects different amounts or hues of light depending on the lighting angle), and has a sumptuous fluidity and unrivaled ability to draw attention to the exterior shape and form. Sequin Blue launched the third-generation Continental GT in 2017, and is one of the top 10 most popular paints for customers.

Azure Purple

Bentley Bentayga

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Azure Purple is a dark, rich shade with blue undertones which was created when Bentley was asked to match the unmistakable colour of the beautiful African Violet flower. A confident and flamboyant colour, it has been used by customers of both Bentayga and Continental GT.

The interior of the vehicle was also chosen as part of the competition but has not yet been publicly shown. Both winners were chosen by Bentley's Director of Design, Stefan Sielaff.

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