AkzoNobel predicts global colour consistency and performance of wheel coatings as number one priority to automotive OEMs

12 June 2024

Global consistency in colour is critical and automotive wheel manufacturers want their coating partners not only to keep up with the latest design styles, but also to predict – and play a part – in what comes next. While the current trend is towards copper and blues, there is also a clear trend towards more idiosyncratic hues of yellow and green, as well as mixed colours, gloss finishes and etched designs.

“This is something we are witnessing with all our OEM partners,” says Gustavo Carvalho, Automotive KAM and Segment Director of AkzoNobel Powder Coatings. “It’s why the aesthetic design of every part of a vehicle has become more important. Wheels, brake calipers and trim, which were previously ‘functional’, are now integral to the vehicle’s design – a way to accentuate its power and style, and say things about the owner, especially for higher performance models.”

Wheel designs help make a statement that reflect the unique brand personality and as such, manufacturers want colours that are their own, unique to their model and brand. Gustavo says this is where the ability to replicate locally a colour that the customer wants to use globally – and to do so consistently – is essential in supporting manufacturers as they increasingly seek to differentiate their products from their competitors.

“The automotive industry is renowned for its innovation,” Gustavo continues. “It is constantly re-inventing itself. Open wheel designs are now an established trend and are creating a demand for more colour, more style and even greater performance. They are also making the need for global partners with an established global footprint.”


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Gustavo’s insight comes in the context of AkzoNobel’s ‘OneWheel’ portfolio, providing customers with both liquid and powder coatings in the wheel coating system: “While we have literally a wide selection of colours to choose from, including the increasingly popular tinted clearcoats, our true expertise lies in working in partnerships with customers to design and develop new colours, and identify and determine new trends to keep our customers out in front.

Gustavo says that while colour is important, performance remains critical: “We are innovating colours and coatings with enhanced performance, with greater resistance to chipping and scratching, and the damage caused by UV light,” he adds.

His comments also follow the demand by vehicle OEMs and wheel manufacturers to guarantee that the product they deliver in one country is identical to the product they deliver in another: The cars made in China are the same cars manufactured in Mexico, and they need the wheels to match: “Only precise replication and consistency will do,” he says.

“Being global, with global systems and technology platforms and global manufacturing, brings consistency and certainty wherever you happen to be in the world. Customers need the assurance that our coatings have been rigorously tested in accordance not just with global industry standards, but also the specific standards demanded by each OEM.”

There is also a continuing trend towards sustainability; manufacturers are increasingly looking to measure and reduce carbon emissions throughout their business and the supply chain and coatings manufacturers are seeking to develop products that require considerably less energy in application and curing.

“They are also helping customers to do more with less, developing layering systems with much higher efficiency. This means that less material (i.e. less of the coating) is required to achieve the results desired, without any detriment to performance,” Gustavo concludes.

For more information, visit: https://www.interpon.com/insights/one-wheel-portfolio

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