2019 Nissan Altima
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Nicole Fonseca, a 39-year-old Detroiter who studied fashion design at Central Michigan University, was tasked with color and interior design on the redesigned 2019 Nissan Altima. Nissan was clearly pleased with the results — it promoted her into color management for Nissan globally, working from the headquarters in Japan. Fonseca’s responsibilities include making color decisions for Nissan’s emerging-markets Datsun brand.
She spoke last week with News Editor Lindsay Chappell at an Altima media introduction here.
Q: You created a color for the 2019 Altima.
A: Sunset Drift. It’s a new shade of orange, but different from the other orange we’ve used on recent vehicles, including the Rogue. That other orange was a yellowish tone. I wanted Altima’s new orange to be redder. That’s where the trend is going in fashion — orange is gaining popularity and trending toward red.
Why did it matter?
Because we want the new Altima to make a statement. We want to reach people who are more fashion-conscious, who would be aware of the latest trends in color.
How did you create it?
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I worked with the supplier of the pigment ChromaFlair (Viavi Solutions) in their labs to develop the color exactly as it needed to be. And then with our coatings supplier PPG to get it into production.
You also took issue with the beige that’s commonly used as Nissan interior colors.
It was fine, but we needed to move away from it — away from the yellow tone to more of a silver. We replaced it with what we call Heather Gray.
If you look at trends in home interiors, in kitchens, they’re moving away from yellowy wood surfaces to paler, bleached woods. Your vehicle is an extension of your home. You want to be as relaxed inside your car as you are in your house.
Why does fashion matter in vehicle coatings?
You know, pigments in automotive are the same pigments that go into fingernail polish and makeup. Women are very aware of colors, and women represent a growing share of the vehicle purchasing decision around the world. Even in emerging markets, where women often have not even been able to get a driver’s license, they’re taking a more active role in vehicle purchase decisions. It matters.