As this issue goes to press, the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is underway just a few miles down the road at COBO Center in Detroit. Coatings manufacturers are highlighting several new products that are designed to help global automakers in a variety of ways.

Ford won Truck of the Year for its all-new F-150, which has the industry’s first aluminum body, reducing vehicle weight by over 700 pounds, and helping with fuel efficiency and capability. In response to the increased use of aluminum in trucks and passenger vehicles, PPG has developed the VERSABOND™ pretreatment system, which employs the latest in zinc-phosphate hypernucleation technology to accelerate crystal formation and thereby reduce the production of sludge by up to 50% in some pretreatment systems. Other benefits include 10 to 20% lower processing temperatures, and excellent corrosion resistance and adhesion due to its ability to uniformly deposit small, densely packed zinc-phosphate crystals.

POWERCRON ADVANTEDGE™ and POWERCRON EPIC™ tin-free electrocoat systems from PPG are formulated with a proprietary catalyst that functions without tin, bismuth or other heavy-metal compounds, representing a significant environmental advance in corrosion-fighting products for the auto industry. In addition to helping auto manufacturers comply with new global environmental regulations, the technology enables the e-coats to cure at temperatures as low as 320 °F to reduce energy consumption and related carbon emissions.

PPG is also introducing a duplex coating system that incorporates an engineered, zinc-rich primer between the metal substrate and e-coat finish. The primer works to provide protection through the use of a sacrificial zinc-oxide layer that corrodes when the barrier coat is chipped by road debris, enabling it to reseal and protect itself.

BASF is helping create a more sustainable future by offering an array of emissions-reducing chemistry. PremAir®, a patented catalyst coating, converts ground-level ozone, a leading contributor of smog, into harmless oxygen as the ozone in the air passes over the coated radiator. Last year BASF also brought to market an industry-first product, EvapTrap™. This cost-effective, coating-based solution adsorbs harmful hydrocarbons inside a vehicle’s air intake box to help eliminate evaporative emissions, resulting in cleaner air.

An array of new color palettes are also on display at the Auto Show. Although white continues to be the most popular car color in North America, designers say there is a yearning for bold and bright colors. According to Sharon Gauci, Director of Color & Trim, Global Design at General Motors, she is seeing much more of an acceptance of chromatic colors, saturated colors and color in a variety of spaces. She also noted that there is more variety in traditional colors, like gray and white. Trend colors on the show floor include oranges, coppers and yellows, including popular new colors like Electric Spice and Carrot Gold from Ford.

 If you have never had the opportunity to attend the NAIAS, add it to your Bucket List!