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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.

2008 Jaguar MYXJ
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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 Parker.

-- Posted: Aug. 2, 2007
 
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