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

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.

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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  • 161 Comments
      • 1 Month Ago
      I have a silver car but not by choice. It was 4th on my list but I had to take what was available. The car manufacturers determine the "most popular color" by what they make, not the buyer.
      • 1 Month Ago
      I love my gold champane . Hope that color is around as long as I am . shows no dirt...
      nieke22
      • 1 Month Ago
      There is no better looking auto in the world, then a clean black one.
      Leo
      • 1 Month Ago
      Like who cares is right on!!
      • 1 Month Ago
      green
      RMS
      • 1 Month Ago
      Silver is just boring! You can ********* all day and it still doesn't look any different. Dark colors tend to look richer. For years I've had cars that are an extemely dark shade of whatever color, they almost look black except in bright sunlight. GM use to make a color called Dark Cherry, such a rich deep red it is almost black, same with Polo Green and Midnight Bronze. Silver does hide dirt well, so does shades of gold.
      thetexascherfan
      • 1 Month Ago
      WE HAVE A 2008 CANDY APPLE RED MUSTANG GT, BEFORE THAT MUSTANG, WE HAD A GT BLACK CONVERTIBLE WITH WHITE INTERIOR, WE ALSO HAVE A 2007 DALLAS COWBOY TWO TONE EDDIE BAUER EXPIDITION...BUT IF THE COWBOYS KEEP LOSING WE MIGHT HAVE TO TAKE A LOSS ON IT WHEN WE TRADE IT, WE HAVE ONLY HAD ONE WHITE CAR, HATED IT BIG TIME, MADE ME DEPRESSED JUST TO GET INTO IT. WE HAD TO TAKE IT. THE DEALER WAS GIVING IT TO US AND THE DEAL WAS TOO GOOD NOT TO PASS. WE SAID WE WERE GOING TO HAVE IT PAINTED BUT NEVER DID,,,,,,AIN;T THAT THE WAY THINGS GO? SO TRADED THAT ONE FOR THE 2008 CANDY APPLE RED MUSTANG GT...WIHT RED, BLACK, AND WHITE LEATHER INTERIOR. IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CAR WE H AVE EVER HAD. HATE BORING COLORS. BUT TO EACH THEIR OWN.
      duckinnut
      • 1 Month Ago
      Silver and gold ,silver and gold how do you measure its worth? Green car,red truck,blue truck,tan and green truck,dark green truck. Thinking green is my preferred color.
      • 1 Month Ago
      My car is a metallic rose (pink magenta). Would get bored as hell with a white, black silver, gray or red car!
      • 1 Month Ago
      I bought the 2002(Chevy) AVALANCHE when It came out , and I got the SUNSET ORANGE color, I still get complyments on my Truck!!!! And the color is not faded !!!
      sannbaldwin
      • 1 Month Ago
      And the white or blue cars either sunglasses or no -- just my makeup. I got to be cautious.
      acaceca
      • 1 Month Ago
      COLORS? HA - what a joke - there are no colors anymore. I call them "FUNERAL PARLOR PALOR". Any shade of gray, silver, black that you ********** disgusting what they call color now. Same goes with the funeral gray interiors. The manufacturers have slowly given us nothing to choose from for the sake of saving a few bucks in production and selection. The cars they make today are excellent but THERE ARE NO COLORS. Recently I looked at some high end cars to see if I could get a good color and you can't even find a color on an expensive car. The designers must have graduated from FUNERAL UNIVERSITY.
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