For the ninth consecutive year, the silver category has ranked as the most popular vehicle color in the world according to data from PPG Industries.
For the ninth consecutive year, the silver
category, which includes charcoal and gray shades, has ranked as the most
popular vehicle color in the world according to data from PPG Industries, the
world’s leading manufacturer of transportation coatings.
In North America, silver and charcoal saw a strong increase in popularity from
20% in 2008 to 25% this year. White was second (18%), black was third (16%) and
red was fourth (12%). These four color categories comprise well over two-thirds
of all vehicles sold in North America. Just 15 years ago, the most popular
color on vehicles in North America was green with 21%, while silver had only
“What helps drive silver’s popularity are all of the innovative effects that
really make silver shine … much more than just a simple gray,” said Jane E.
Harrington, PPG manager, color styling, automotive coatings. “Silver tones work
well with today’s tinted metallic textural looks. The diversity of silver, from
subtle hue shifts to dimensional metallic flake appearances, works with a
variety of vehicle styles.”
In Europe, silver and charcoal (35%) were followed by black (22%), blue and
white (13%each), red (9%), naturals (5%), green (2%) and other/niche colors
In the Asia/Pacific region, silver and charcoal (34%) were followed by black
(21%), white (17%), blue (9%), red (7%), naturals (6%), other/niche colors (4%)
and green (2%).
“Clearly, the automotive industry is moving toward more color choices,”
Harrington said. “Palettes are broadening as the number of models decreases and
the industry consolidates. Going forward, automotive manufacturers are going to
be relying on color more and more to distinguish their
At this year’s annual Automotive Color Trend Show held at PPG’s offices, the
coatings company presented its ideas for future vehicle colors. Titled “3D
Color” – representing “Design,” “Dimension” and “Differentiator” – the show
included a collection of interior and exterior colors developed globally and
inspired by fashion, interior design, industrial design, culture, commercial
construction and nature. PPG presented automotive designers with 60 new
exterior shades and 10 new interior shades for consideration in their designs
of the 2012-2013 model years. The new shades were grouped in four themes based
on vehicle type: “Dimension” for compact vehicles; “Perspective” for mid-size
vehicles; “Surface” for hybrid vehicles; and “Depth” for luxury
PPG introduced automotive manufacturers to new colors such as Champagne Silver,
a tinted silver with a slight warm copper beige cast; Outer Space Blue, a deep,
dark blue with a slight sparkle effect; Haute Couture, a black base coat with a
high-sparkle-blue mid-coat that gives it an appearance inspired by a black
designer evening gown with blue sequins; Quantum Rose, an interior color close
to a neon red; and Hulk, a color developed in Australia that is bright green,
just like its namesake.
In addition to the new exterior and interior colors, PPG added a
computer-generated imaging demonstration to the show. This provides automotive
designers with the ability to see some of the new colors as they might appear
on new model vehicles.
In addition to color trend forecasting, PPG is continuing to develop new paint
technologies that offer automotive design options to enhance appearance and
help manufacturers differentiate their brands.
One of the paint systems that PPG previewed at the show is a next generation of
glass flake coatings. These are paints that include very smooth glass flakes
coated with various metal-oxide layers. “Because of the coating’s narrow
particle distribution and very smooth surface, this product shows extreme
sparkle and brightness,” said Jerry R. Koenigsmark, PPG manager of color
design, North America automotive coatings. Koenigsmark said that the company
hopes to make these coatings available commercially in the next two to three
PPG also highlighted its Chaos Sky White mica coatings. These are new shades of
white based on synthetic micas coated with titanium dioxide (white
Additionally, PPG spotlighted its new inorganic infrared-reflective pigments.
These coatings have a very high solar reflectivity that helps to keep the
vehicle cooler, reduce air conditioning use, and reduce fuel
On the forefront of innovation in decorative and protective coatings and
environmental application concerns since 1924, PPG helps automakers advance
coatings technologies and application processes.
Silver - The World's Favorite Vehicle Color
February 1, 2010