Color thoughts -- (don't shoot the messenger..)
By Zlati Meyer
Oct. 6, 2011
When it comes to car color, white is white-hot, according to PPG Industries, a leading international coatings company, which released its annual color trend popularity survey Wednesday.
Twenty-one percent of 2011 model-year vehicles around the world are white, bumping silver, which fell to second place, where it's tied with black. Both silver -- the most-popular vehicle for 10 years straight -- and black claimed 20% of the market, with gray coming in next at 13%.
In North America, white was No. 1 with 20%, followed by silver with 19%, black with 18% and gray with 15%.
These four colors are popular because they not only are available in every vehicle segment, but look good on any type of car, according to Jane Harrington, PPG's manager of color styling and automotive coatings. Plus, a car is a big purchase -- and an item that will be owned for a while -- so many buyers don't want to get locked into a too-trendy shade.
She theorized why white has become so beloved: It connotes cutting-edge.
"Silver, at one time, was considered high-tech, innovative," Harrington said. "Think about white. What has Apple (introduced) their product in? White."
PPG, whose automotive group is based in Troy, also unveiled 70 shades of automotive exterior colors for the 2014-15 year, including hazy sunshine, a soft yellow; peacock blue, a rich teal with a sparkle, and ovaltine, a pearlesque soft brown.
A recent PPG survey found that 77% of car buyers said that exterior color was a factor in their purchase, and 31% said they'd be willing to pay extra for a color that expresses their personality.
Harrington's personal favorites include delicate sky, a soft green-cast blue with a little yellow, and chandelier, a matte-finish gold.
But what would the father of the modern automobile -- who famously said customers can have a car any color they wanted as long as it was black -- say to all these choices?
"Henry Ford would be confused, because I'd say, 'What black do you mean? Green cast? Black cast? A little sparkle? A lot of sparkle?' " Harrington said.
Another trend the 28-year veteran of the business noticed is the move away from a single-color car-scape.
"I used to call it the dipped look," she explained, referring to the days when everything from the exterior paint job to the carpeting to the leather was the same hue. "Now, we're seeing more color combinations and attention to details. Color is very noticeable in the marketplace ... When a person says, 'I got a new car,' someone asks you, 'What color?' "
Ashley Lindon of Canton bought her first car in March -- a white 2011 Hyundai Sonata.
"I think white cars look so classy," said the 25-year-old compliance officer. "I've had so many people tell they love my car in that color ... It's becoming more popular for younger people to buy white cars. It used to be more older people. My best friend just bought a white Ford Mustang."