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Car colours to the extreme

White and black continue to top favourite car colour lists

Published: December 20, 2014, 6:00 AM
Updated: June 19, 2018, 9:03 AM

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Car colours continue to be measured in extremes of black and white through 2014, according to data gathered by PPG Industries, the world’s leading paint maker for automotive applications.

The two continue to be the colours of choice across all global markets and vehicle segments, with white again the top choice overall, garnering 28 percent of the popular vote (up three percent from last year). Black was again runner up (at 18 percent), followed by silver and grey (13 percent each), which continue its slide from the top of the popularity list they dominated just three years ago (silver has declined seven percent in popularity over the past two years).

Natural colours such as browns, golds and oranges continue to rise in popularity, with a stake of 10 percent in the market that is expected to increase in coming years. Red rounded out the top five with a 9 percent rating.

Colour choices are not always a sure thing, since manufacturers set colour palettes several years in advance of model introductions.

“As color selection takes place two or three years in advance of a model year, it is important for auto makers to combine color popularity with global consumer trends,” said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager, color styling, automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) coatings. “Today, automotive manufacturers can choose from a broad array of colors as well as a wide assortment of variations of conservative hues such as white, silver, black and gray, and distinct effects such as micas, glass flakes, fine bright aluminum and hue-shifting pigments.”

White, black and silver/grey dominated all world markets, with red and blue sneaking into the top five in South America and natural colours taking those rankings in Europe. Browns are also gaining in popularity in North American midsized and sport-utility segments, while reds, blues and greens are popular in the sportier segments (ahead of silvers and greys).

And although whites are still the most popular colour in the luxury segments, they are finished off in metallic and pearl coats.

The mixture of natural colours and metallics is expected to have an impact in the near future, with 2015 expected to show an increase in colours such as bronze, pewter and gold. PPG is basing this projection on the increase of the metals in fashion and accessories, as well as industrial design and furniture.

Jeep has already jumped on the coming trend with its interior metallic finishes in the new generation of its SUVs.

And in the long-range outlook, PPG created 63 new colours for consideration in the 2017-18 generation of vehicles. It grouped them into four palettes — Good Life (earth tones, golden yellows, weathered browns and foliage greens), I’m Pulse (bold bright hues, opaque pastels and urban neutrals), Co-Leidoscope (hot reds, gemstone greens, plum and indigo blues) and Introsense (pale blues, greens, corals and purples).