Auto Service World
Feature   March 1, 2000   by Auto Service World

Bodyshop News: Techno Colors Make Big Moves in Color Survey

Changing tastes in vehicle design color consumer choices.

New vehicle buyers’ tastes reflected a growing interest in “techno” colors, such as silver, along with a growing interest in natural browns and blues in 1999.

According to the 48th Annual DuPont Color Popularity Survey from DuPont Herberts Automotive Systems, the data is used as a baseline for determining vehicle color trends for 2003 and beyond. The survey is based on the percentage of vehicles manufactured during the 1999 model year in North America.

White retained dominance in the full/intermediate, sport/compact and sport-utility vehicle/van segments, although its popularity was bolstered by pearlescent effects that produced a silky luminance, especially in the luxury vehicle segment, where white recaptured the top ranking from light beige metallic. The emotional impact of black and traditional primary colors such as red also remains strong.

As DuPont predicted in its 1998 survey, silver made the most significant gains in popularity with consumers in North America during 1999. Most notably, silver leaped from fourth place to first in the sport/compact category, attracting 16.2% of consumers, and rose to second place in the luxury and full/intermediate car categories.

A variety of tinted silvers also rose significantly in Europe. Green, which has been in the top spot for the past four years, declined in every category except the SUV/truck/van segment, where it gained in popularity by 3.8% to become the third ranked color after white and black. The most popular color in Europe, blue, gained popularity in North America particularly in the sport/compact and SUV/truck/van segments.

The rise of certain colors’ popularity is linked to the rise in more daring vehicle design.

“Designers are pushing back boundaries and vehicle concepts once considered too wild for mass production are now hitting the showrooms,” says Robert S. Daily, color styling and marketing manager, DuPont Automotive Finishes. “These bold new vehicle designs demand fresh colors. Silver has always conjured images of space-age technology.” Daily says that in response to this trend, DuPont has formulated an entire palette of tinted silvers, ranging from icy/cool bluish tones to warmer, more golden shades. “Improved coatings technology, especially in more durable clearcoats, continues to open the door for a wider range of color choices.”

Results by Vehicle Category

– Light brown lost the lead to white metallic and silver in the luxury car category, while green plunged to the bottom of the chart and black also dropped. This is significant because luxury car colors usually steer changes across all categories.

– White continued to top the full/intermediate category, with silver right behind it. Light brown and black remained steady, but green declined from first to fourth place. Bright red, medium gray and gold also entered the top ten.

Golden Feature

Looking ahead, the hot colors of the first years of the new millennium will continue to reflect a trust in technology, but also convey a financial optimism. “Silver is hot right now, but in the future, look for shades of gold to seize a growing share of the market. Gold shows a sense of grandeur and prosperity, relating to a luxurious lifestyle that people want,” according to Robert Daily, color styling and marketing manager, DuPont Automotive Finishes.


1999 Color/Rank (1998) Market Share (% of vehicles)
1. White Metallic (2)15.812.312.613.07.8
2. Silver (6)
3. Light Brown (1)12.917.719.817.813.4
4. White (4)10.311.310.114.614.9
5. Black (3)9.412.311.09.09.7
6. Med. Gray (8)8.35.3n/a
7. Gold (10)7.04.8n/a
8. Medium Red (7)
9. Med./Dk. Green (5)
10. Med./Dk. Blue (9)4.94.8n/a


1999 Color/Rank (1998) Market Share (% of vehicles)
1. White (2)15.415.617.017.518.9
2. Silver (4)
3. Light Brown (3)
4. Med./Dk. Green (1)13.916.417.518.817.3
5. Black (5)
6. Med./Dk. Blue (7)
7. Medium Red (6)
8. Bright Red (–)4.9n/a4.04.04.4
9. Medium Gray (–)4.3n/a6.63.0
10. Gold (–)1.8n/a
NOT IN TOP 10 IN 1999
Dark Red (8)
Light Blue (9)3.8n/a
White Metallic (10)3.2n/a


1999 Color/Rank (1998) Market Share (% of vehicles)
1. Silver (4)
2. Black (3)14.715.012.912.911.2
3. White (3)14.014.713.914.414.4
4. Med./Dk. Green (1)12.415.920.321.215.2
5. Med./Dk. Blue (8)
6. Light Brown (4)
7. Bright Red (5)
8. Medium Red (6)
9. Dark Red (–)4.5n/a
10. Light Green (–)1.7n/a
NOT IN TOP 10 (1999)
Teal/Aqua (9)4.0n/a
Purple (10)


1999 Color/Rank (1998) Market Share (% of vehicles)
1. White (1)26.222.523.223.623.8
2. Black (3)11.211.511.210.39.1
3. Med./Dk. Green (2)11.015.518.520.715.9
4. Med./Dk. Blue (8)
5. Silver (6)
6. Medium Red (4)
7. Bright Red (5)
8. Light Brown (7)
9. Med./Dk. Gray (–)4.5n/a
10. Dark Red (7)
NOT IN TOP 10 (1999)
Med./Dk. Brown (10)3.2n/a

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