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.

Trending News

 
 

The AWD ID.4 model is on its way.

Volkswagen

There was a lot of buzz when VW introduced its 2021 ID.4 all-electric crossover with rear-wheel drive earlier this year, but there's plenty more now that the Wolfsburg automaker has added an all-wheel-drive version. The 2021 VW ID.4 AWD gets another motor onboard this compact SUV that brings all-wheel-drive traction. The SUV appeals to buyers in the snow belt states but will also tickle the fancy of performance enthusiasts. Now with motors on both the front and rear axle, there is nearly fifty percent more power, with impressive gains to horsepower and torque as well as the added battery-electric boost to that scoots the 5-seater from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds (the RWD model took 7.5 seconds to achieve the same).

2021 VW ID.4 AWD An extra motor brings AWD to the ID.4.Volkswagen

On sale now, the 2021 VW ID.4 AWD Pro starts at $44,870, before federal or other incentives; this is a $3,680 premium over the rear-drive model. The AWD Pro S starts at $49,370; both models are eligible for $7,500 income-tax credits. It's worth noting that current delivery estimates for the AWD Pro are running into 2022. The AWD Pro trim has been rated by the EPA at 249 miles (only 11 miles less than the Pro RWD) while the AWD Pro S has been validated at 240 miles (as compared to 250 miles). The AWD Pro has been rated at 102 MPGe for city driving/90 highway/97 combined; the Pro S gets 93/98/88. Both are rated at 2,700 towing. Competitors include the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y.

While the AWD and RWD look the same outside, one exterior badge designates the newest variant with an "AWD" badge, plus it gets 0.6 inches of added ground clearance, slightly bigger brakes and sway bars. From the front, the electric SUV has smoothed jelly-bean styling that is highlighted by standard LED headlights and standard black roof rails that sit atop the body-colored roof. From the rear, it wears hatchback-like looks.

2021 VW ID.4 AWD The ID.4's cabin is tidy and upscale, no matter the model.Volkswagen

We drove both the Pro and Pro S versions, with different premium interior trims and found the Gradient Package ($1500) visually upscale and appealing. It brings a black roof with silver rails, along with 20-inch wheels and the availability of King's Red Metallic paint, as a $395 option. The Pro is well-equipped with attractive trim elements and an impressive collection of communication and infotainment technologies. Pro S comes with a glass roof with an electrically-retractable shade and front seats with leatherette upholstery and 12-way power adjustments (including four-way lumbar support and a massage system).

We drove the new ID.4 AWD over a course of 160 miles along a variety of roads to sample its handling and ergonomics. The interior has a clean and open feel with good visibility. Controls and gauges are well-placed and the seatbelts are height-adjustable, while a configurable console holds different drink sizes and has removable cupholders. A futuristic LED "Light" strip with 10 different ambient lighting selections extends across the dashboard and pulses with directional signals, incoming phone calls, navigation prompts and other in-cabin inputs (optional is 30-color lighting selection on the Pro S). Driving is also a bit futuristic with no stop/start button; the vehicle senses the approaching key and can start climate control, unfold side mirrors, unlock doors and illuminate door handles at night, among a number of other high-tech features. There is 30.3 cubic feet of stowage behind the rear seats and up to 64.2 cubic feet with the second row folded. Under the floor storage holds the charging cable and small items. Pro S has an adjustable trunk floor that can be raised and lowered and a ski passthrough.

Pushing the brake pedal triggers the ID.4 to begin motoring, with the option of a "D" mode for typical driving or "B" for a more regenerative driving experience. Travel Assist brings semi-autonomous driving. Notable is the fun and responsive torque-on-tap, well-balanced direct steering and a suspension system that allows the small compact to maneuver well through traffic and along twisty roadways, as well as an impressive turning radius. The vehicle dynamics control system is integrated with the stability control system and an electronic differential to seamlessly engage the front axle, when needed. Volkswagen has added a different asynchronous motor to the front with a permanent-magnetic synchronous motor at the back for a combined 295 hp. and 339 lb.-ft. of torque.

2021 VW ID.4 AWD The ID.4 AWD will start shipping in early 2022.Volkswagen

Carried over are 82-kWh battery packs and the 5 to 80 percent fast-charging time of 38 minutes, when using 125kW fast-charging. VW says it can add 62 miles of range in 10 minutes; home charging on a Level 2 charger is projected to take approximately 7.5 hours for a full charge.

Of note: VW includes three years of complimentary charging up to 125 kW, with any ID.4 purchase or lease; VW Group's Electrify America charging network has over 650 stations and more than 2,700 fast chargers.

Trending News

 
 

The all-electric ID.4 will help its pilot and navigator tackle the grueling race route.

Volkswagen

Off-road racing and endurance races are nothing new, but the Rebelle Rally's approach is unique. The event is the first all-women event of its kind in the U.S. and takes participants through severely challenging terrain with no electronic aids allowed for navigation. This year, Volkswagen is bringing its new ID.4 EV to the event to be piloted by driver Mercedes Lilienthal and navigator Emily Winslow.

Volkswagen ID.4 Mercedes Lilienthal and Emily Winslow will pilot the ID.4.Volkswagen

Tanner Foust Racing and Rhys Millen Racing modified the VW with new suspension system, tubular control arms, fabricated skid plates, battery protection, and other off-road-ready kit. The crossover has also been fited with a Thule roof rack and Yokohama Geolandar A/T tires.

The ID.4's battery and electric motor will remain untouched. That means a combined output of 295 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. The 82 kWh battery can deliver an EPA-estimated range of 249 miles on a charge, but keep in mind that the terrain the team will be tackling will have an impact on that number.

The 2021 event marks the sixth year for the all-women rally raid. Teams are faced with 1,400 miles of desert in Nevada and California, and must navigate the racecourse without the use of electronic guides, such as GPS or cell phones. From the start in Las Vegas to the finish in Glamis, CA, participants must use maps, compasses, and their own skill to navigate.

Volkswagen ID.4 Several modifications were made to the suspension and other components.Volkswagen

Even though it's the ID.4's maiden year on the market, the electric crossover has already had a successful run in motorsport. Earlier this year, another modified version of the vehicle competed in the NORRA Mexican 1000. It was also massaged by Tanner Foust Racing and Rhys Millen Racing, and VW notes that the ID.4 that we'll see in Rebelle Rally vehicle was improved using data from its first races.

Trending News