According to PPG’s annual survey of global color popularity, white ranked first (22 percent) and silver was second (20 percent), followed by black (19 percent), gray (12 percent), red (9 percent), natural (8 percent), blue (7 percent), green (2 percent) and other colors (1 percent).
“Color is one of the first characteristics noticed in product design, and it is increasingly being used in everyday items from cell phones to large appliances, based largely on automotive trends,” said Jane E. Harrington, PPG Manager, color styling, automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) coatings. “The palette being developed for the automotive segment continues to be influenced by culture, nature, fashion, interior design, color popularity and new pigment technology.”
During this year’s annual Automotive Color Trend Show held at PPG’s offices in Troy, MI, in late September, the coatings company presented its ideas for future vehicle colors to leading global automobile manufacturers. Titled “Perspective,” the 2012 show presented PPG’s unique viewpoint and angle on color direction, using insight from all the company’s businesses that color items such as laptop computers, homes, buildings, airplanes, ships and heavy equipment. The show begins each year in the Detroit area, and then moves to the West Coast and overseas. It is geared toward designers, but engineers and purchasers attend as well.
“PPG’s internal network of more than 20 color experts and six color styling laboratories around the world keep our company in the vanguard with color trends,” Harrington said. Global labs are located in North America, Europe, China, India, Korea and Australia. PPG presented 64 new exterior shades to automotive designers for consideration in designs of the 2015-2016 model years. These included colors such as: Al Fresco, a silver metallic with fresh green tint; Victoria Grey, a classic grey with an iridescent highlight of gold metal; Opulence, a refined red pearl with intense jewel tone; Glacier, an icy graphite grey with a slight violet blue tone; Sunshine, a bright high-sparkle intense yellow; and Elixir, a metallic mixture of silver and magenta.
“Our consumer research has clearly shown that color is critically important to car buyers,” Harrington said. Warming colors, such as oranges and browns, are uptrending globally. Also gaining popularity is the use of matte finishes on specialty vehicles. Although not as user friendly as glossy finishes, PPG expects matte colors to be a growing niche.
A 2011 survey of automotive consumers by PPG revealed that:
- 77 percent of respondents said exterior color was a factor in their automotive purchase decision;
- Owners of large luxury cars, sporty cars and large premium SUVs place the most value on getting the color of their choice;
- 45 percent of respondents said they would prefer a wider range of color choices.
In addition to color trend forecasting, PPG continues to develop paint technologies that offer automotive design options for enhancing appearance and helping automobile manufacturers differentiate their brands, according to Harrington. “For example, metallic flake effects have become increasingly popular. A classic color such as blue can be updated with a high-sparkle glass flake or a fine bright aluminum to create more of a liquid or silk appearance,” she said.
Color Popularity by Region
In North America, white ranks first (21 percent), followed by black (19 percent), silver and gray (16 percent each), red (10 percent), blue (8 percent), natural (7 percent) and green (3 percent). In Europe, white is also most popular (23 percent), followed by black (21 percent), gray (17 percent), silver (13 percent), blue, natural and red (7 percent each), other colors (3 percent) and green (2 percent). In the Asia-Pacific region, silver and white tied for most popular (23 percent each), followed by black (19 percent), natural (10 percent), red (9 percent), gray (8 percent), blue (7 percent), and green (1 percent).
For more information, visit www.ppg.com.