Special Coverage

Auto Show

GENEVA – Thanks to the wide-open entry policy at the Geneva auto show, new ideas in car design seem to sprout here more often than anywhere else.

Flat matte paint made a trendy appearance this year in the hands of tuners and design houses that know more about tailor-made than series production.

And two of the newest mainstream brand designers brought their own little trend: exterior trim elements in three dimensions.

For years, designers have been trying to get rid of those pesky rear-view mirrors that stick out from the body. Now Anders Warming, who has served as head designer at Mini for the last three months, has the taillights of the Mini Rocketman jumping out of the fender.

He says the effect on aerodynamics is not serious, and, in fact, taillights could be designed to direct air in such a way that they improve the overall drag coefficient.

At Saab, where Jason Castriota is finishing his first year at the design helm, his Phoenix concept car has a 3D roof rail as a sculptural element.

Flat paint has been showing up in dribs and drabs at auto shows, and hot Dodges have been making a thing about black matte jobs. But this year, there was a surge of flat.

Think, the Norwegian electric car company, was early to the trend, although its flat matte finish is what comes out of the mold rather than the paint shop.

But the flat-blue Gullstream made by the Swiss company FAB Design is painted, as are the other flat matte finishes at the show, including the fullsize Abarth Scorp-Ion model by student designers at the Instituto Europeo di Design.

Even mainstream designers Giorgetto Giugiaro and Sbarro are going with unshiny.