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ROAD & TRAVEL Auto News: Car Paint Colors

Silver cars outnumber others on the road now,
but what's in store for future auto hues?

Are you driving a silver car? It’s likely that you or someone you know is. Silver, the most popular car color of 2006, nabbed 24 percent of vehicles sold within the United States, ranking highest in every car category. The color accounts for 29 percent of all luxury models.

According to Jane Harrington, manager of color styling for automotive paint company PPG, “Silver is going to remain popular. It's a preferred hue because it defines character lines and features on the exterior of a vehicle better than a darker color. But blue is going to start grabbing some of silver's market share. Both pure tones and light values of blue are going to be strong, emerging color trends within the next few years."

In fact, within the next couple of years you’ll see blues, browns and greens start to surge and become infused with silver to create a new, cool look for car buyers. Also gaining popularity are paints with aluminum flecks that contribute to color brightness, as well as metallic base coats that glitter in the sun.

"Color is one of the first things someone notices about a vehicle. It redefines the shape and styling of a car and brings it to life," Harrington said. "We see color inching back into the mainstream. Hues are being reinvented as they're influenced by new shades, new coating technologies and special effects."

Here, a host of color trends that experts predict will dominate future car models:

Blue: The color blue will increase in popularity, with updated rich classic blues featuring sparkle effects for a unique iridescence and some shades featuring green and red casts. Medium-valued blues with silver highlights also add new dimension to the palette.

Green: Nature-inspired textures and patterns will expand the range of greens, especially with continued consumer interest in the environment and "green" products. The color will be enhanced with a light, almost translucent hue on one end of the spectrum, while a combination of green with brown will create a new dark khaki on the other.

Naturals: The metallic looks seen in fashion, packaging and product design are strong influences on the natural color family. Medium values will showcase subtle tones of copper and bronze, while special-effect pigments will help create contemporary and luxurious browns influenced by wood and leather products.

Red: This classic palate will be highly influenced by interior design, resulting in deep burgundies and bright, saturated reds. With new effect pigments, the depth and brilliance can be expanded.

Neutrals: Comprised of silvers, blacks and whites, the neutral family has strong ties to fashion. Blacks with metallic effects will be the new focus. Tonal whites and pearl colors will continue to become established. Silvers will continue to develop with the addition of metallic flake and effect pigments, while a move to darker graphite colors with slight tints of brown and green will add new interest.

(Source: PPG)