Silver has remained at the top of the charts as the most popular color for 2007 cars, but other colors are gaining on the perennial leader. According to the annual automotive color popularity data released by PPG Industries, silver is losing some steam as black closes in on the long-time favorite. In addition, brighter hues such as blue, red and niche market colors seem primed for resurgence.

Globally, silver held the top position as the most popular car color at 31.5% (down from 33% in 2006). Black jumped to 18% (from 15.4% in 2006) to take second place, followed by white (12.5%), blue (12.4%), red (8.8%), naturals (gold, orange and brown tones, 6.6%), other/niche market colors (5.9%) and green (3.8%).

In North America, silver also held the top spot over other vehicle colors with 22% (down 2% from last year). White, another automotive palette staple, was the second most popular North American color for 2007 with 16%. Black came in third at 15% – up two percentage points from last year – followed by red (13%), blue (12%), naturals (10%), other/niche market colors (6%) and green (5%).

“Silver is popular with consumers and automakers because it accentuates the styling of a vehicle and looks modern while also having a high resale value,” said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager, color styling, automotive coatings. “We’re looking at new interpretations to emerge in tinted silvers and charcoal shades. In addition, hue-shifting pigments can really make silvers look unique.”

The rising popularity of black, white and other colors stems from the fashion and interior design industries, Harrington said. “Today’s consumers are aware of trends and design, and they expect to see that reflected in the vehicles they buy.”

Harrington added that automakers realize the right color “can get you noticed,” and said a survey PPG conducted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit showed more than 65 percent of consumers surveyed said they would select one vehicle over another if more color choices were available. “Consumers want choices, and that will lead to a more colorful automotive future.”

Looking beyond 2007, the colorists of the PPG Global Design and Color Marketing Team examined cultural and lifestyle trends to create cutting-edge color palettes and special effects that meet automakers’ goals for brand identity, durability, workability and cost effectiveness. For the 2010-2011 model years, they have developed 105 exterior colors and more than 25 interior color concepts for automakers’ consideration. Some new colors in the collection are Cold Stare, a tinted silver with a steel blue highlight; Double Vision, a medium green with a red hue-shifting highlight; Out of Sight, a soft brown with a blue hue-shifting highlight; Quest, a citrus-inspired yellow metallic; and Gleam, an icy green with an intense gold flash.

PPG also has demonstrated improvements in special effect pigments. The incorporation of Andaro nanopigment technology by PPG into traditional and alternative OEM coating systems is enabling designers to create new color spaces. These pigments reportedly offer higher color saturation while maintaining durability.

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