November 27, 2002

Silver is top car colour worldwide

Troy, Michigan – While a silver medal is often associated with a second place finish, the colour silver was the No. 1 vehicle colour worldwide for the 2002 model year, according to PPG Industries — the world’s leading producer of transportation coatings.

The annual survey of consumer preferences, conducted by the Advanced Colour Design Team at PPG, found approximately one-third of the vehicles produced in the leading automotive markets – North America, Europe and Japan – were silver.

“The technology orientation of consumers in North America, Europe and Japan – as well as the use of silver in home interior, fashion and architectural design has helped boost the global popularity of silver for vehicles,” said Lorene C. Boettcher, manager, global design and colour marketing for the automotive coatings business unit of PPG. “In addition, silver is a very versatile colour that is attractive across all vehicle lines.”

Consumers’ preference for silver and other neutral shades continues to grow, Boettcher said. They have exceeded white in North America and blue in Europe, and matched the perennial popularity of white in Japan for the 2002 model year. Advances in coatings technology have also helped to drive silver’s popularity – by generating a wide spectrum of special effects and appearances.

“Silver can highlight the hard edges and soft lines of a vehicle’s design and can take on several different effects – from very bright and reflective to subtle and sophisticated – based on the size and type of metallic flakes contained in the coating,” said Jerry R. Koenigsmark, manager of colour design, North America for the automotive coatings business unit of PPG. “Globally, for the 2002 model year, we saw very bright silver shades, which are often more appropriate for hard-edge, modern or high-tech vehicle designs.”

Based on data compiled by PPG, the most popular vehicle colours for the 2002 model year for the three leading automotive markets were:

Rank North America Europe Japan
1. Silver/grey (22%) Silver/grey (40%) Silver/grey (35%)
2. White (16%) Blue (19%) White (35%)
3. Red (14%) Black (13% Black (9%)
4. Blue (13%) Green (9%) Blue (8%)
5. Naturals* (13%) Red (9%) Red (5%)
6. Black (10%) White (6%) Others (5%)
7. Green (8%) Naturals* (3%) Green (2%)
8. Others (4%) Others (1%) Naturals* (1%)

* Naturals include gold, copper, champagnes and lighter shades of brown and yellow

The Advanced Colour Design Team — which comprises 20 colourists in North America, Japan, Europe, South America, India, Australia, South Africa and Malaysia – expects silver will remain a staple of automakers’ colour palettes for the next several years because consumers’ choices in vehicle colours tend to evolve – rather than change from year to year.

This marks the 16th year that PPG has tracked automotive colour trends and the latest technical information to support automakers worldwide as they select and develop colours that enhance the brand identity and image of their vehicles. PPG surveyed approximately 22 automakers from around the world to compile its 2002 colour trend data.

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