Trend Spotting at the 2023 Detroit Auto Show

September 25, 2023 • Posted in In Mold Labeling

While we don’t always host booths at auto shows, we can’t help but attend and keep tabs on what’s new in the industry. This was true at September’s Detroit Auto Show, and we got ourselves a pass for Industry Preview Day so we could take our time to peruse the latest models and the parts we’re really interested in — emblems, dashboards, consoles, and decorative panels.

We are proud to produce top-quality parts for Lexus, Subaru, Toyota and Ford, among others. So it was great to see some of our clients (and parts!) in action. They’ve got their fingers on the pulse of industry trends, and we’re grateful to pair their visions with high-quality in-mold labeling technologies to bring the final products (aka, the complete car, truck or van) to life.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we spotted at the Detroit Auto Show, and some of the technology in mass production that we’ve created at Sanwa.

Painting and Laser Etching

Achieve color perfection and fine-detail with decorative painting and laser etching. These technologies can deliver performance and protection. At Sanwa, our technological expertise enables us to provide optimal solutions that ensure good adhesion and rich expressions.

Sanwa parts with Painting and Laser Etching:

detroit auto show laser etching
detroit auto show parts
detroit auto show etching

Deep Curves and Bends

Corner wrappings are our specialty. Smooth bends can increase the design look, and improve user experience (no sharp edges). Quality is key here, to avoid light leaking, warping, or edges that can be torn or damaged over time.

Learn more about making the most of IML Corners and Edges here.

sanwa mexico factory

Sanwa parts with deep Curves and Edges:

in mold labeling curves
in mold labeling edges

In-Mold Labeling and FESP

Fine expression silk printing (FESP) can be used to add fine textures and mimic the look of other non-plastic materials like wood, carbon fiber, leather and stone. At Sanwa, we can achieve the look of these materials with high gloss and low gloss finishes — making your parts synonymous with luxury and style.

Learn more about mimicking materials with In-Mold Labeling here.

in mold labeling auto parts

Sanwa parts using Fine Expression Silk Printing:

in mold labeling fine expression silk printing
fine expression silk printing auto parts

Dead Front

The combination of IML and “dead fronting” allows for a multitude of modern design options. Designers can choose from always visible, only visible when turned on, or a combination of both.

Learn more about Dead Front displays here.

dead front auto part

Sanwa parts using Dead Front:

dead front plastic
dead front plastic part

Sputtering and Plating

The model below uses two coating technologies: sputtering used to produce thin film coatings, and PVD (physical vapor deposition) in which solid material is vaporized in a vacuum and then embedded onto a part’s surface. Decorative uses can include emblems, trim, start buttons, USB ports and window switches.

Learn more about Sputtering & PVD Coating here.

Sputtering and Plating
Sputtering and Plating plastic parts
Sputtering and Plating auto parts

Sanwa parts using Sputtering and Plating:

lexus emblem
toyota emblems
toyota plating


This is a process of putting a special transparent resin on top of a printed film or metal plate. In the technology used for creating emblems, it can give a three-dimensional feeling to a nameplate. The material we use at Sanwa is lead-free, environmentally-friendly resin.

potting auto emblem

Have Questions About Decorative Auto Parts?

If you were at the show, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! We invite you to get in touch with our team to talk about blending your on-trend design ideas with our leading-edge capabilities. We’ve been in business since 1977 and will continue offering top-quality services to the name brands (like the ones above!) that you know and trust.