High-tech no thicker than a hair

Painting your fingernails is easy: With a single stroke of a brush, your nails have the desired color. The process is more complicated with cars. Automotive paint is not delivered as a finished end product. The paint does not acquire its properties until the various coats have been applied one after the other under precisely defined conditions. That is why for automotive OEM coatings, the application process is especially important.


All of the layers together are just a tenth of a millimeter thick – making them no thicker than a human hair. Yet the paint still has to be resistant to high stresses. For years, it will be exposed to rain and UV radiation, heat and cold, gravel from the road and the brushes at the car wash. Even our daily use can make demands on the paint, if we close the doors quickly, for example.


Achieving success coat by coat

To ensure that the car survives these stresses unscathed, BASF offers innovative technologies and solutions for all four layers, from the e-coat to the primer, the basecoat and finally the clearcoat.



BASF Color Report For Automotive OEM Coatings


Close partnership with customers


When it comes to automotive OEM coatings, BASF is considered to be among the top three suppliers. Our customers include carmakers from all over the world as well as their suppliers, for example in the fields of wood and plastic and even metal coatings.


BASF has acquired immense expertise not only in the production but also in the application of the various paint layers. Our close partnership with our customers is particularly important to us here. Together we develop innovative application processes and optimize production.


The cost-per-unit (CPU) concept is a particular form of this close partnership. With CPU invoicing, the car manufacturer no longer pays for the amount of paint delivered but instead for each perfectly coated body.


Color experts

Red-gold, mint and emerald – practically no other factor determines the effect of a car the way its color does. Color is what turns vehicles into emotional products. Automakers can reinforce their brand profile with distinctive colors – and in BASF, number 1 in color-related matters, they have the best partner.



A given paint color does not suit every model of car, and not every color is to the customer's taste. This is the challenge for the color designers at BASF. Working closely with the carmakers' color & trim designers, they identify the automotive color trends of the future and develop new color concepts for the carmakers.


Fancy electric cars. BASF supplies Tesla with coatings and plastics. 

Broad portfolio

Our range of services includes more than just painting the body. With the utmost precision, we ensure that plastic add-on parts, such as the side-view mirrors and other parts, receive the coating that exactly matches that of the car body. Although the parts are usually manufactured at different locations, we guarantee perfect color harmonization. Our specially developed ColorCARE® software helps us achieve this goal.


BASF has the right paint for any surface, even high-quality wood interior trim. Incidentally, for this we use the same paint as is used for grand pianos. That means that the performing arts and car racing are not so different at all.