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Car Exterior Color Trends in 2010

2 October 2009 No Comment

When it comes to car colors, most North Americans are pretty conservative, as silver and charcoal remained the most-popular exterior colors for the ninth consecutive year in PPG Industries’ 2010 annual presentation of color trends.

Silver and charcoal were chosen by one in four new car buyers this year, followed by white (18%), black (16%) and red (12%).

But the real news is how automakers are using different color palettes, depending on the size and styling of a vehicle.

“All manufacturers are focusing more than ever on brands and establishing the distinct characteristics of their own vehicles. One way to do that is with unique colors,” said Jane Harrington, PPG manager of color styling and automotive coatings.

For example, as more subcompact cars are introduced, customers will see brighter, bolder colors, partly because a large percentage of those buyers are under 30 and partially because the body designs of smaller cars allow for brighter greens, yellows and blues, she said.

PPG, which is not only a leading supplier of automotive paint but also manages some of its customers’ paint shops, is showing off colors it thinks will be popular in 2012 and 2013 model-year cars and trucks.

Harrington is also showcasing what she calls “3D color” by showing how certain combinations of exterior and interior colors can more effectively work together.

While silver, whites and blacks continue to predominate, enhancing effects and tints are being added to these old standbys.

Other colors among the 60 new exterior hues PPG is presenting this week are champagne silver (with a slight copper-beige cast), outer space blue (with a sparkle effect) and haute couture (a sparkled blue mid-coat over a black base coat) and quantum red, an almost neon-like shade for interior applications.

Americans’ tastes have changed dramatically in the past 15 years, PPG said. In 1994, green was the most-popular color and only 8% of buyers chose silver.

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