- The Washington Times - Friday, October 17, 2008

Bored with the same bland silver and white-colored cars dominating the highways? Worry not. Blue is the car color of tomorrow.

Automotive paint supplier PPG Industries Inc. issued its annual forecast of popular car colors Wednesday. Blues, particularly more vibrant, richer, complex blues, will take on a more important role in car styling, said Jane Harrington, PPG’s manager of color styling for automotive coatings.”It’s one of those colors that complements vehicle shapes,” she said. “It’s a globally acceptable color. It doesn’t have any bad connotations.”

PPG, based in Troy, Mich., infers future car colors from trends in a wide variety of areas, including fashion, interior design and consumer products. In the coming years, cars will also see a wider variety of colors – and more complex ones – thanks to advances in paint technology, Harrington said.

PPG is not the only one that sees blue as the color of tomorrow. In April, a report by chemicals giant Dupont also predicted a resurgence in blue as a color choice. They saw an increasing focus on the environment as a reason.

“The source of the trend is influenced by ecological concepts, as we talk about sky, water,” said Karen Surcina, color manager for Dupont Co.

PPG said its “colorists” have developed more than 130 color concepts for its automaker customers to consider for the 2011-2012 model years. The palate includes a color called “Lights Out,” a deep, dark blue accented by glass flakes, and “Split & Peel,” a pale yellow.

Among existing cars, silver continues to be the most popular color in North America, PPG said. Twenty percent of new cars purchased so far in 2008 were silver, PPG said. White was the No. 2 color, at 18 percent, followed by black at 17 percent and red at 13 percent. Elsewhere, silver occupies an even bigger piece of the car market. In Europe, 35 percent of cars new cars this year were silver, while in PPG’s Asia-Pacific region, it’s 37 percent, PPG said.

What explains the popularity of silver? Harrington said it’s a neutral color that works on just about any car.

“Black, white and silver are core colors that are offered on every single vehicle,” she said.

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