Could George Lucas have an impact on the automotive industry? Maybe, says a color expert from BASF.

Jon Hall, manager of color development for BASF Corp.'s Automotive OEM Coatings business, says the mechanical look of Lucas' most recent Star Wars effort will impact both color and design choices in future vehicle models.

"Design will be more machine like and mathematical, less amoebic and organic," he says.

Mr. Hall explains that designers will be likely to unleash their wildest ideas. "This will allow designers to incorporate classic elements, like fenders and grilles, into new design ideas and colors," he says at a recent presentation of BASF's annual color forecast for future automotive design.

But before anybody gets too carried away thinking the vehicle they buy next year might look like a pod racer, Mr. Hall says designers typically work between three to five years ahead of the current year. So the Star Wars look that he is predicting actually won't make its debut until 2003 at the earliest.