2011 BMW 550i

When PPG started keeping track of cars sales by color back in 1990, the superstar of the car color world has been silver, and according to firm's latest study, it shows no signs of slowing down. For the tenth year in a row, the silver, charcoal and gray category are numero uno amongst new car shoppers. In 2008, it accounted for 20 percent of vehicles sold and that figure climbed to 25 percent in 2009, reaching its current zenith of a 31 percent.

Slotting in behind silver are black and white, which tied for second with 18 percent apiece. Red garnered 11 percent while blue was close behind with 10 percent. Coming in last, with just four percent of the action, is the color green. Consumer color choices have come full circle from where they were 16 years ago. Back then, green held the top spot and silver came in near the bottom.

Silver is not just the favorite choice for consumers in North America. The Europeans go with the shade 32 percent of the time, while Asian car shoppers opted for it on 33 percent of vehicles sold this past year.

[Source: PPG]


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Silver reaches new height of popularity on vehicles, according to PPG data

Company introduces 66 new shades at annual Automotive Color Trend Show

TROY, Mich., Oct. 5, 2010 – For the tenth consecutive year, silver has ranked as the most popular vehicle color in the world according to data from PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG), 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.