March 14, 2005

Silver’s hot, brown is not

Westlake Village, California – J.D. Power Consumer Center reports that silver was the hottest colour in 2004, with 24.1 per cent of new car buyers selecting that shade. Last on the company’s “Top Ten” list was brown, with only .7 per cent.

“Silver really shapes cars the best,” says Ron Will, manager of product planning and design for Subaru of America Inc. “With dark colours, it’s difficult to see the shape. Whites don’t do it. Solids don’t do it. You need metallic or pearlescent in a lighter colour. That’s why I think silver works the best.”

But not everyone agrees that the trend will continue. “I would say it’s starting to decline a bit,” says Cynthia Leighton, product planner for colour materials and finishes with Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. Based on the company’s recent market research in Los Angeles, she says, “Silver is not the number one choice for future buyers.”

Up-and-coming colour favourites appear to be silver shades that incorporate colour, such as ice blue or celery green, or deeper, darker metallic gray, blue or purple.

Price tends to have an impact on colour choices; many automakers find that entry-level buyers will experiment with colour, but tend toward more conservative tones as the price of the vehicle increases. According to J.D. Power statistics, beige held a very slim margin over silver for full-size sedans; in luxury cars, black had a slight edge.

J.D. Powers’ list of ten most popular car colours for fourth quarter 2004, with percentage of sales, was silver (24.1), black (16.7), blue (12.7), white (11.8), gray (10.5), red (10.3), green (5.7), beige (4.3), gold (2.6) and brown (.7).

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