Hottest car colors
In the car color popularity contest, silver continues its reign.
Nearly 20 percent of all 2006 vehicles (the latest year for which figures are available) were silver -- the seventh consecutive year that the color has taken the top spot.
There's good reason for that, says Chris Webb, the exterior color and trend designer for GM North America. "There's no question that silver on a vehicle looks incredible," he says. "When the light hits it and refracts, it shows off the vehicle's architectural form beautifully."
The color has other advantages,
too: It hides dirt, it's an enduring favorite
and it's easier to resell than other colors.
In the United Kingdom, many police agencies
have switched from white to silver, because
the silver cars fetch a higher resale price
-- up to 10 percent higher than white cars
-- after they've been pulled from the fleet.
Silver got a bump in the late
1990s as a result of a growing interest in
technology, the future and Y2K, says Karen
Surcina, color marketing and technology manager
at DuPont. "Metallic finishes -- whether
on cars, cell phones or stainless steel kitchens
-- really took off," she says. "And
now that it's stayed a top color for so long,
it's become a safe color."
Still, there are signs that silver's popularity has peaked. "Silver is a cold color, and people are beginning to look for more warm and inviting surroundings," says Teresa Wong, a color designer at Mitsubishi Motors. "Silver isn't going to go away, but it might be declining."
Stuck in neutral?
White, gray and black take the second, third
and fourth spots on the list, respectively.
While the colors may be popular,
they don't necessarily represent what buyers
actually want, says Barb Parker, a color designer
for JDSU -- Flex Products.
"In the United States, most cars are bought off the lot," she says. "Dealers pick gray and silver and black because they're safe."
These neutral colors are also
popular for rental cars. "A lot of vehicles
go into the rental car fleets -- if you look
around at rental cars, you'll see that they're
silver or other neutral colors," says