Design & Technology / Product
All about the new Optima’s colors from the Kia Color Team [Interview] August 25th, 2015
Color is an important part of car design. It virtually dictates the first impression. At Kia, we operate a variety of specialized teams to satisfy consumers’ increasingly demanding standards, and one of those teams is the Kia Color Team.
As its name suggests, the Kia Color Team researches market trends and customer feedback related to product colors and helps in making our new generation of products the most compelling choice for customers. Today, meet Ms. Seung Ah Lee, a senior research engineer of the Kia Color Team as she explains the colors of the all-new Optima, the fourth generation of our popular midsize sedan.
Q: What are the key responsibilities of the color team?
Lee: We are in charge of everything related to the interior and exterior colors of Kia cars.
We take on various roles in the development of vehicles, from formulating initial vehicle concepts, proposing color options based on customer research, new technologies and trends and overseeing the production of selected colors.
And I am proud to have been closely involved in the all-new Optima project.
Q: Can you introduce some of the trends in automobile colors these days?
Lee: The biggest recent development in terms of interior color is the use of environmentally-friendly materials. Global customers not only care about the environment in general, but also consider eco-friendly materials to be more advanced and sophisticated, and are willing to pay more for them.
The all-new Optima reflects this green trend in coloring as seen by a thin-film aluminum material that has been applied to the console upper cover. The new Optima is the first car in the world to adopt this material, which significantly reduces vehicle weight while remaining stylish and luxurious by giving an aluminum-like feel to the exterior.
Q: What are the vehicle’s signature colors? Any interesting behind-the-scenes story when it comes to their naming?
Lee: We named each shade after planets to give the colors a high-tech, futuristic and dignified touch. Similarly, GRAVITY BLUE, our pick for the Sporty Style (SX) trim in Korea, is a refined shade of dark blue that resembles the depth and firmness of the Earth’s surface. With soft metallic particles, it reflects a contemporary and cool image.
Inspired by the brownish hue of a planetary surface, PLUTO BROWN is a sophisticated and calming shade of dark brown. Its trendy brown base harmoniously blends with the new aluminum coloring pigment, giving it a shimmering finish. PLUTO BROWN will be applied to Optima’s brown leather seats and doors.
Q: What are the main characteristics of the all-new Optima’s interior color options?
Lee: There are three main interior colors for Kia’s export models: black, black-beige, and dark grey.
For the GT and GT Line trims (new trim designations for some overseas markets), a wide range of distinguished coloring strategies were applied to add a sporty and luxurious sensation. Red leather was utilized for seats, doors and consoles. Other distinctive features include sporty black headlining, a D-shaped steering wheel with red embroidery and ‘GT’ logo, black high-gloss garnish and satin chrome accents.
* Disclaimer: The features, colors, trim levels and specifications in this article may differ depending on country.