TOKYO: Colour exerts considerable influence on the world. It conveys messages, signals actions, and shapes moods. And if you’ve ever loved an automobile, then chances are you understand this chromatic power: the body colour you chose is, after all, an extension of you.
For these reasons and many more, a vehicle’s colour—specifically its agent, paint—is of enormous importance to Lexus. It’s so important, in fact, that Lexus has dedicated decades of research to making its exterior paint options unique, lasting, and visually intriguing.
1. Lexus has a dedicated group of colour designers who develop new paint hues and colour-layering techniques for visual effects. Devising a new Lexus colour can take more than a year, with detailed input coming not just from in-house colour specialists but also from Lexus drivers. As a maker of premium automobiles, Lexus doesn’t use off-the-shelf colours, and there are no shortcuts: the team’s colour decisions are made only after honing hundreds of experimental samples.
2. A key aspect of Lexus paint is how it looks in the real world. Lexus has a special facility with floor-to-ceiling windows so designers can look outside to an asphalt display area. Embedded in the asphalt are remote-controlled turntables for viewing vehicles from many angles. This is where Lexus designers get a feel for a potential new colour’s appearance on a car’s body, as well as evaluate its ability to look amazing under natural light at different times of day.
3. Chances are a Lexus driver’s vehicle colour has a story: Lexus paint designers often achieve unique paint colours through personal experiences. As just one example, when the first-generation Lexus NX was under development in the mid 2010s, it came with a carefully honed Eminent White Pearl colour for its global debut. The colour’s origins stemmed from a young Lexus paint designer who sought to capture the wintry landscape at her childhood home on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido.
4. Many Lexus exterior paint colours come from carefully chosen layers: To achieve unique effects under different lights and angles, Lexus paint developers often think in layers. Certain Lexus “sonic” colours, for example, use five ultra-thin layers of paint with compressed pigments, which may also be—depending on the colour—hand-polished to achieve striking light and shade contrasts. The first two coats are protective base layers to guard against rust and wear, with the actual colour effect derived from meticulous combinations of differently coloured layers, sometimes including microscopic metal chips designed to catch light.
5. Lexuspaint technologies include scratch-resistance paint, which is designed to restore itself after being deformed due to light damage, such as a ring scratch. Available via select models’ paint options, Lexus scratch-resistant paint is designed to resist luster degradation caused by surface scratches, and it helps preserve the vehicle’s original colour over time. It works via a molecular bonding technique that helps increase the top coating’s flexibility and elasticity, which helps the paint be more resilient to scratches and light damage.
6. Lexus also has extreme training and skill requirements for it paint-application craftspeople. Lexus production-facility paint technicians must learn specific body movements to apply paint layers. To master the techniques, they’re trained in precise body stances — their stances are even photographed and evaluated to help maintain their skills. And then there are the inspections: during a new Lexus model’s initial production run, Lexus colour evaluators carefully inspect how its new colours appear—and it’s not uncommon for some cars to be pulled off the assembly line and manually resprayed by paint takumi (master artisans).
7. Premium paint-application quality applies to collision repair as well. Lexus Certified or Authorized Collision Centers are, of course, the best places to repair a damaged Lexus. Just one reason (of many): when painting a repaired body component, these facilities’ paint specialists are trained to achieve factory standards for colour appearance and visual complexity. This is often achieved through technologies such as a spectrophotometer, a special camera that captures precise paint-effect readings from a Lexus vehicle’s non-damaged sections, so technicians can accurately match a new part’s colour.