SANTA BARBARA, California – Nicole Fonseca, a 39-year-old Detroiter who studied fashion design at Central Michigan University, was commissioned to design color and interior design on the updated 2019 Nissan Altima. Nissan was clearly satisfied with the results – it promoted hair color management for Nissan worldwide, working from its headquarters in Japan. Fonseca's responsibilities include taking color decisions for the Datsun brand of Nissan's emerging markets.
She spoke last week with news editor Lindsay Chappell during a media introduction of Altima here.
Question: You have made a color for the Altima 2019.
A: Sunset Drift. It is a new shade of orange, but different from the other orange we have used in recent vehicles, including the Rogue. That other orange was a yellowish tone. I wanted Altima's new orange to become redder. That is where the trend goes into fashion – orange is gaining in popularity and tending to 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 are aware of the latest color trends.
How did you make it?
I worked with the supplier of the pigment ChromaFlair (Viavi Solutions) in their labs to develop the color exactly as needed. And then with our coating supplier PPG to get it into production.
You also have the problem with the beige color that is often used as interior colors of Nissan.
It was fine, but we had to get rid of it – away from the yellow shade to more silver. We have replaced it with what we call heather gray.
If you look at trends in the interior of a house, in kitchens, they go from yellowish wooden surfaces to bleacher, bleached wood. Your vehicle is an extension of your home. You want to be as relaxed in your car as you are in your home.
Why is fashion important in vehicle coatings?
You know, pigments in the car are the same pigments that end up in the fingernail polish and make-up. Women are very aware of colors, and women represent an increasing share of purchase decisions about vehicles worldwide. Even in emerging markets, where women often can not get a driver's license, they take a more active role in decisions about vehicle purchase. It is important.