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What color is your parachu . . . er, car? High-tech silver is white hot

November 23, 2010

Silver remains the hottest automotive color today, but it is expected that shades of blue will become dominant over the next few years for vehicles in North America, according to BASF, a leading supplier of automotive coatings. "Silver is the hot shade on a worldwide basis right now.

This is certainly true in North America and to an even greater extent in Japan and especially Europe," said Jon Hall of BASF. "Silver has been a popular color in Europe and Japan over a longer period as a result of traditional consumer preferences in those regions. "American consumers have typically liked more color options, but the popularity of silver in the North American market has been unmistakable, as anyone who has been to a new-car lot lately knows."

Hall said the preference for silver has been fueled by a tremendous interest in high technology and in machines. "There has been a fascination with the whole 'machine look,' and silver really fits that high-tech feel. That interest has also been reflected in many aspects of automotive design." Over the next few years, Hall said consumers in North America increasingly will turn to shades of blue as a representation of stability. "The resurgence in blues really will be the important trend in North America.

Our cars are an important expression of our personalities, but events in the world around us strongly influence our selection as well," he said. "In North America," Hall said, "people have seen the collapse of the technology bubble, the shock of terrorist attacks and the onset of a recession. As a result of these events, tastes change. At some point soon, consumers will tire of so much silver and gray.

"People will want things that are beautiful and stimulating, with more color. Blue is desirable and it is one of the basic colors that people love and that can be made better." Hall predicts a variety of blues such as metallic and with sparkle. But color trends typically are more conservative than fashion trends.

"Unlike clothes, a car isn't something you can hide in the back of your closet at the end of the season, which is why you don't se too many hot pinks out there," he said