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Color Trends: Red Sets the Stage for Tokyo

The recent Tokyo motor show proved the usual emotive and stately colors still prevail.

Silver and gunmetal (either gloss or matte) were reserved for the most premium of cars with the Mercedes S Coupe looking like it was poured from liquid metal.

Mercedes S Class Coupe concept

Red was the color of choice for a majority of OEMs. Was this because of the cultural association of the show, or was it because of the lusty automotive implication? Perhaps both.


Though Mazda’s show stand was mediocre, their cars shone through in a beautiful metallic arterial blood red contrasted by the all black backdrop.

Lexus RC

The only red car to be seen on the Lexus stand was the new RC Coupe, highlighted and raised at the front of the stand in an almost desperate way.

Though Lexus didn’t have to contend with competition for the new production coupe, Toyota’s luxury nameplate clearly would have done well to show the car in Los Angeles rather than Tokyo. It’s the entire reason the brand was created in the first place.

There were variations from the above with bright pop-like colors and curious two-tone combinations, but there wasn’t anything that really stood out as fresh. Some of the Kei-cars on show were in their typical pastels and kawaii combinations, but no single manufacturer has found a color to own.

Mitsubishi Concept AR (2013)

One example could have been the bice/acid yellow green metallic on the BMW M4 coupe, but this color has been seen before on other sports cars (such as the catchy named Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive from earlier this year) and was also seen at this show on the numbing Mitsubishi AR concept.

Could one OEM find a new color and present everything in this color? Absolutely, and we would love to see a brand have that confidence, but as long as the standard silvers, reds, blues, et al. continue to dominate, it will be difficult to innovate.

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Founded in 2012, Form Trends tirelessly covers the automotive design industry in all corners of the globe to bring you exclusive content about cars, design, and the people behind the products.

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