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The “Face” and the “Flop” – Picking the Right Paint Colors for Tomorrow’s Cars Can Be a Big Challenge

Two-tone pastels, “secure” blacks and blues, high-tech golds among the likely trends of 2019.

by on Jan.20, 2016

Buick opted for a paint so dark you might think it was black, not blue, depending on lighting.

Low-slung and sensually sculpted, the Buick Avista is generating rave reviews, and large crowds, at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

When designers pulled the concept car together, they spent nearly as much time coming up with the right, dark blue paint color as they did on Avista’s sheet metal. And the Buick team wasn’t alone. Whether ticket-me-red, sunburst orange or elegant white, color is critical to designers hoping to make their production cars and concepts pop on the auto show floor – and in the showroom.

We Color Outside the Lines!

“When you buy a car, your friends are likely to ask, ‘What did you buy – and what color is it?’” suggests Jane Harrington, the manager of color styling for PPG Automotive Coatings.


Men Opting for Bright, Bold Paint Color, Women Prefer Safe Neutrals

Red and black losing traction.

by on Jul.06, 2015

Long popular red - shown here on a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 - has lost some of its luster.

One only has to follow fashion to know that men and women typically have very different tastes when it comes to colors. But while guys might tend towards more subdued shades when it comes to the clothes they wear, they’re much more open than women to bright, bold and flashy colors for the vehicles they buy.

A new study finds that orange, brown and yellow are the colors men have developed a strong preference for over the last year. Women, on the other hand, remain wedded to traditional gold, silver and beige.

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“These study results could suggest that women are more practical in their choices. For the most part, they may just want to buy a reasonably priced car that safely drives them around,” said Phong Ly, co-founder of the used vehicle website iSeeCars. “On the other hand, for men, perhaps they may be a bit more idealistic about cars, preferring something that has speed and is fun to drive.”


Politics, the Environment – and Your iPhone – Could Influence the Color of Your Next Car

Blues, greens, browns gain momentum – but white, black, silver and gray still dominate.

by on Aug.05, 2013

BASF color chief Paul Czornij with samples of paint colors likely to be popular over the next few years.

Henry Ford liked to tell his customers they could order a Model T in any color they wanted “as long as it’s black” – an option that certainly wouldn’t fly today.

Automakers today offer a wide ranging palette of colors, seemingly every shade between black and white, and the range of offerings continues to grow. BASF, one of the industry’s largest paint suppliers, is showing off 65 new hues to automotive designers as part of its annual color trend show.

Color My World!

While a handful of shades continue to dominate — black, white, silver and gray – other popular shades are strongly influenced by factors ranging from current events to consumer electronics, as well as increasing concerns about the environment, explains Paul Czornij, the technical manager of BASF’s Color Excellence Group.


BMW Designer Credits Apple for Selling White Cars

But brown is back, too.

by on Aug.30, 2012

Does the iPad help sell white cars?

White is the new black…so to speak.  When it comes to the colors that American motorists tend to prefer, white has traditionally taken a back seat to black and silver.  But it has been gaining ground lately, taking over as the most popular automotive hue in some recent studies.

Credit Apple, says Sandy McGill, chief designer for BMW DesignWorks, who believes the Silicon Valley giant’s iPhones and iPads have had a direct influence on the choice consumers make when buying cars, as well.

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McGill offers kudos to the late Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs for transforming the public mindset.  “Prior to Apple, white was associated with things like refrigerators or the tiles in your bathroom. Apple made white valuable,” the designer told


Color Me Relieved: Japanese Paint Plant Back Online

Loss of pigments colored what paint choices American buyers were offered.

by on May.10, 2011

Ford will soon be able to offer the Harley-Davidson F-150 in its signature Tuxedo Black again.

The automotive world is about to become a little more colorful thanks to the resumption of production at a plant in Onahama, Japan that produces some key paint pigments used by automakers around the world.

The plant, owned by the chemical giant Merck, is the only source for some key ingredients required to make such popular hues as Ford’s Tuxedo Black, a high-glass metallic hue offered on a variety of the maker’s products.  Production was halted on March 11, when Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, followed by a crisis at a key nuclear power plant that has left the island nation struggling for electricity.

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As a result of the shortage of Merck’s Xirallic pigment, Ford, Toyota and a number of other automakers around the world were forced to either stop taking orders for colors like Tuxedo Black or offer customers some alternatives.


Silver Retains Top Spot In Auto Paint Pantheon

Tenth consecutive year it outshines black, white, red and green.

by on Oct.06, 2010

Silver is the overwhelming favorite paint color for 2010, on models like the new VW Jetta.

Yet again, silver is the favorite choice of American motorists when picking the color for their new products, according to one of the industry’s top paint suppliers.

For the tenth year in a row it has readily outsold such stalwarts as black, white, red and blue – as well as the season’s hip alternatives, like Flaming Orange.

Indeed, silver’s lead is the highest yet seen, according to officials at PPG Industries, accounting for 31% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. during the 2010 model-year.  That’s up from 25% the prior year and just 8% as recently as 1994, when it began its climb up the charts.

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“There’s clearly been a significant strengthening of silver’s popularity in recent years,” said Jane Harrington, PPG manager of color styling, during PPG’s Automotive Color Trend Show.