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    Silver has been the most popular car color for some time. Has anything changed in 2010? (Alamy)

    by: Craig Howie | AOL Autos
     

    Briefly noting silver’s continued reign as the overall most popular car color, perhaps the most striking statistic of PPG’s latest car color survey is that black -- and shades of black, which, indeed, exist -- opened a wide lead over the ubiquitous silver in the North American luxury car segment.

    Jane Harrington at PPG Industries says traditional black is being upgraded to suit more refined palettes and now can be shaded with a blue caste or even a black-burgundy that’s proving increasingly popular. The company publishes an annual report on the most popular vehicle shades.

    “Black is high-end, it’s classic, but it’s not always basic,” Harrington said. “It could be black metallic. We’re starting to see richer colors and shades in every palette."

    Silver, for its part, stays the most popular color across all models for the 10th straight year thanks to advances in pigment technology that allow consumers to opt for silver with blue, copper or bronze tints.

    It’s even gaining in popularity: The silver, grey and charcoal category market share increased this year to 31 percent from 25 percent in 2009 and 20 percent in 2008. Black has steadily increased its market share over the last 10 years, while white and blue have remained fairly constant, and demand for red paint has declined markedly.

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    Some of the latest popular colors come from haute couture fashion runways or the latest interior design trends. Examples include a bright yellow-green previously seen mainly on concept cars as well as a copper orange that’s now almost become a “core color” on small cars. Many new colors feature in a palette of 66 shades that Pittsburgh-based PPG predicts will be at the forefront of car design for the next three years.

    "We’re seeing a lot of darker browns, coppers and oranges used on new restaurants, hotels and lobbies, so consumers are getting more used to these colors. Browns are associated with luxury, so people get used to it."

    As to the enduring popularity of base colors: "Silver, black and grey are offered on every single vehicle style and are core to every vehicle palette from SUV to luxury."

    PPG gleans its color predictions by studying the automotive market and other paint sectors including architecture, fashion, interior design and industrial design (think cell phones, computers, boats and airplanes). Harrington says automotive color development typically has a much longer lead-time than, say, cell phones, where color trends change from month to month.

    The popularity of copper orange can be traced over the last eight to 10 years from its use on sophisticated or sporty high-end models such as BMWs, which resulted in carmakers from the lower end of the spectrum opting to use the color to jazz up their products. Harrington says this may yet happen with shades such as tinted silver or gold.

    Green’s newfound popularity can be traced to the mid-1990s, when it was the most popular new-car color, with carmakers opting for shades including “Hunter green” and “Polo green.” Now, green accounts for less than 5% of all new models, as darker shades of green were deemed unpopular in the small-car sector. That could all change now, though, with the increasingly popular yellow-green having a chance to become the new copper orange.

    Harrington said buyers will “see a continuance of tinted silver, blue brown or bronze cast. Browns and oranges and golds will continue to increase, and blue will have an effect, and also light silvers and charcoals."

    "All carmakers absolutely are striving to find the next color for their brand strategy, as color can really enhance a design. When designers come in here I know they’re going to say, ‘That’s the kind of blue I want,’ but they want the metallic flake to be coarser, they want their specific signature on it."

    Related story: Find the best places to check out the fall colors near you.

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    Discuss
    1 - 20 of 161 Comments
    N4DIL Mar 07, 2011 7:21 PM
    I buy and sale my personal car or truck about 1 time a year. You lose less money with a white auto. Easier to repair wreck damage and easier to wash.
    Report This
    alfie124 Dec 14, 2010 6:38 PM
    I have a silver car and the car before this was silver - I like it because it never looks dirty. Of course Black is classy but hard to keep clean. It seems Silver leads the pack again.
    Report This
    tfh2rp Dec 06, 2010 8:59 PM
    I wanted a BRASS color but nobody would do that. Instead there are shades of 'gold' around instead of Glossy Brass. Possible it is too much of a hazard because the light in others' eyes?
    Report This
    rruble78 Nov 13, 2010 7:48 AM
    I'm a Mopar fan so of course I love the color B5 Blue which is the color of my Challenger.
    Report This
    spce127 Nov 04, 2010 9:16 AM
    We have had several Buick's. Silver, Taupe, Dark Green. Our Buick now is a light gold metallic and we have gotten the most compliments on this car. I think that the copper orange is neat and I have always liked the red or wine colors.
    Report This
    doncrealtor Oct 26, 2010 7:01 PM
    I prefer a gold shade. My last 4 cars have been gold.
    Report This
    shiloh1388 Oct 22, 2010 10:21 PM
    Avocado Gold Metallic had some sizzle in the mid-70s. Revisiting it with silver matte road wheels or gold in 2011 would work. Also turquoise blue metallic with black would be nice. However, would have to be the right vehicle and model. Black and white are colors that fit all sizes. Glad to hear silver is being refined with copper or gold tones. Rawsome.
    Report This
    tr3parts Oct 18, 2010 11:20 PM
    Lets see we have 1 white, 2 black (one metallic), 2 silver, 1 bright red and 1 screaming yellow. So is that a straight or a full house......... I know a full garage :(
    Report This
    michlin58 Oct 18, 2010 8:50 PM
    Yellow draws yellow jackets.
    Report This
    jasonyacht Oct 17, 2010 1:40 PM
    IF IT AINT WHITE IT AINT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!
    Report This
    dav249 Oct 17, 2010 11:36 AM
    My Miata M Edition is a very dark Marina Green....almost like a BRG with metal flake. I never tire of it. Wifes previous car a Mazda 626 was a Hunter Green in held up pretty well in the So. Florida sun.
    Report This
    asexygrl40 Oct 16, 2010 8:17 PM
    Only one color YELLOW !!!
    Report This
    iramark1 Oct 16, 2010 12:42 PM
    My car color is red red and red it looks great clean waxed or dirty
    Report This
    n738 Oct 16, 2010 10:10 AM
    I'm not getting a new car until they start painting them medium to dark metallic GREEN. N738
    Report This
    nursebobbe3547 Oct 16, 2010 9:25 AM
    How can black be the most popular color for 2010? The colors are red blue, and yellow, I belive black and white are shades.
    Report This
    mclark453 Oct 15, 2010 7:50 PM
    Any color but black. And the paint has to be metallic flake. Doesn't fade in the southern California sunshine.
    Report This
    woodtoyz Oct 15, 2010 11:14 AM
    If you look in any parking lot you will see an ocean of grey, black and tan dreck. Most of the other colors will be muted "off" shades. This reflects the conservative nature of society as we become more worried about resale value than individuality. Car companies do not want to risk wasting resources on less popular funky colors. If you have big bucks, then some of the retro hot rods are being offered in the good old fashioned lollipop colors.
    Report This
    judydesoto8 Oct 15, 2010 1:14 AM
    Silver and gray blend in with the road and are an accident waiting to happen!
    Report This
    aphantom48 Oct 14, 2010 9:48 PM
    How about checkerboard, or maybe a nice plaid.
    Report This
    maryskyd Oct 14, 2010 8:25 PM
    black is elegent-- may favorite WHITE !!!!!!!! TOOTSIE TU.
    Report This
    1 - 20 of 161 Comments
     
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    The most striking statistic of PPG’s latest car color survey is that black opened a wide lead over the ubiquitous silver in the luxury car segment.
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