For the tenth consecutive year, silver 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 fact, silver’s popularity is the highest it’s been since 1990 when PPG began recording its data.
In North America, the silver, grey and charcoal category saw a dramatic rise in popularity to 31 percent this year. The color accounted for 25 percent in 2009 and 20 percent in 2008.
Black and white were tied for second (18 percent). Red was third (11 percent), blue was fourth, (10 percent), naturals, like browns, tans, golds, oranges and yellows, were fifth (8 percent) and green was last (4 percent.) Just 16 years ago, the most popular color on vehicles in North America was green with 21 percent, while silver had only 8 percent in 1994.
“There’s clearly been a significant strengthening of silver’s popularity in recent years,” said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager, color styling, automotive coatings. “And, with more than two-thirds of cars in North America being black, silver or white, one might be inclined to believe that vibrant colors don’t exist in automobiles anymore. But that’s not true. The fact is that these shades continue to evolve. New advances in pigments and technologies are giving today’s vehicles different textural appearnces and iridescent sparkle.”
In Europe, silver and charcoal (32 percent) were followed by black (24 percent), white (20 percent), blue (10 percent), red (9 percent), naturals (5 percent), green (1 percent) and other/niche colors (1 percent).
In the Asia/Pacific region, silver and charcoal (33 percent) were followed by white (21 percent), black (19 percent), red (10 percent), blue (8 percent), naturals (6 percent), other/niche colors (4 percent) and green (2 percent).
“Color is an important component of how today’s carmakers can define and differentiate a vehicle or brand in the marketplace,” said Harrington. “The palette of colors being developed for the automotive market is clearly being influenced by culture, nature, fashion, movies, media, electronics and many consumer products.”
At this year’s annual Automotive Color Trend Show held at PPG’s offices here, the coatings company presented its ideas for future vehicle colors. Titled “InSite,” the show highlights the influences of insights from PPG’s other color- and coatings-oriented businesses, such as architectural coatings, industrial coatings, protective and marine coatings, and aerospace coatings on its automotive coatings offering. PPG presented automotive designers with 66 new exterior shades and five new interior shades for consideration in their designs of the 2013-2014 model years.
PPG introduced automotive manufacturers to new colors such as Denim, like the name a classic true blue with a high effect sparkle; Cognac, a rich coppery warm brown with an iridescent highlight; Silky Silver, a liquid silver look with a slight bronze cast; Moonshine Blue, a pale silvery blue like the reflection of the moon on a lake; and Wicked, a sinister green color inspired by couture fashion.
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.
PPG has developed proprietary interior coatings that provide the look and feel of anodized aluminum. The five colors developed are commercially available and allow car makers to provide a luxury look and feel to their interiors. “Anodized aluminum has been a trend in the automotive aftermarket for several years,” said Vala Mohr, PPG manager, interior color styling. “Our technology now brings that same luxurious look to the original equipment market giving automotive manufacturers another tool with which to enhance their brands.”
In addition, PPG highlighted several new coatings technologies that add unique special affects to a car’s exterior. “New glass flake technology utilizes titanium dioxide-coated glass flakes that appear as a smooth surface and add an extreme sparkle and brightness,” said Jerry R. Koenigsmark, PPG manager of color design, North America automotive coatings. “Also, new mica technology has helped increase the chroma and brilliancy from standard micas currently in use. This allows for increased brilliance in colors and greater highlight effects.” Koenigsmark also stated that new iron oxide coated aluminum pigments allow for increased color capability in the red and orange color space.
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.
PPG Industries’ vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Founded in 1883, the company serves customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, PPG (ppg.com) operates in more than 60 countries around the globe. Sales in 2009 were $12.2 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG).