Holds top spot but growth seen in vibrant hues



For the seventh straight year, silver has held its lead as the predominant colour choice for vehicles globally. But more vibrant shades, such as red and orange, also registered noticeable growth around the world according to DuPont Automotive’s 2006 Colour Popularity report.


Since overtaking green in 2000, silver has held on to its top spot — the longest of any colour during the 54 years that DuPont has been tracking automotive colour choice. However, there has been a broadening of the range of tones in silver and in grey, another top choice


In North America, silver accounted for 19 per cent of vehicles manufactured during the 2006 model year, up one per cent from a year earlier. White took second spot at 16 per cent but slipped slightly from its ‘05 17 per cent level.

If you’re planning a vehicle purchase some time soon, you might want to keep in mind the trend for the future. It includes the infusion of neutral colours like silver, white and grey with reds, greens and purples, which provides you with a broader palette of choices.

Blue and red have strengthened their positions as popular vehicle colours in North America, each with an 11 per cent share.

The stronger showing of higher chroma colours throughout the world points to a desire by buyers for some more personalization of their vehicles. This boldness allows for smaller vehicles to make a strong statement and is most evident in the compact/sport segment, where red and orange have seen a large upswing, notably in the North American and Asian markets. Red surfaced as the top colour choice in the compact / sport category here, up from 9 per cent a year ago to 15 per cent in 2006.

Black has also gained ground in the luxury segment in North America with a two point gain to 13 per cent for 2006, mirroring black’s longstanding preference by European luxury car buyers. The colour has also seen growing popularity with intermediate-size car buyers here.

According to the Socionomics Institute in Gainesville, Georgia, colour trends provide insight into the larger public mood in North America.

"The popularity of silver has correlated with the optimism that attended the twin financial manias of the past nine years, the stock market boom surrounding the year 2000 and the housing boom since then," said Mark Galasiewski, a senior analyst at the Institute.

But the silver/grey domination might be due for a change. With changing trends, 40 per cent of consumers now indicate a willingness to switch brands for a specific colour, according to a national poll conducted by DuPont.

What should you look for down the road? How about new pigment and flake combinations, including those that create a colour-shift based on the viewing angle?

Experimental formulations that could bring easy-clean finishes, glow-in-the-dark colours, badging that could be made possible by aligning metal flakes within the paint, and more are under development.