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Surprisingly, these neutral color trends are reflected particularly in the youth market, says Webb. The Scion brand, which is heavily targeted to the Generation X buyer, features remarkably subdued hues. "There's not a single bright color on the vehicle," he says. "Youth don't want that, because then they assume it was marketed to them. They associate bright colors with cheap, disposable products."

2008 Scion xB
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As a whole, the popularity of neutral color choices reflect a financially unstable climate, where buyers stick to safe, conservative choices, says Webb. The good news is that color is making a comeback.

A more colorful market
Henry Ford once famously said that his customers could purchase his cars in any color -- as long as it was black.

Today's consumers, however, have many choices, and they're starting to take advantage of brighter, bolder colors on their vehicles. "People are willing to go further with color," says Webb. "Lifestyles are becoming about extremes now -- for example, we're seeing a lot of extreme reality TV shows -- and the same thing is happening to color."

Medium colors, like the midvalue greens seen on cars in the late 1980s and 1990s, have been abandoned in favor of more saturated hues.

"Colors are very bright and chromatic," he says, noting that purples and oranges are finding their way onto vehicles-- even if they're not yet in the top 10. Some 50 percent of vehicles in GM lines have an orange hue available as an option, a color Webb thought would be a flash-in-the pan trend five years ago.

2007 Chevrolet Aveo
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Parker agrees that color is back. "You'll still have blue cars," (No. 5 on the list) she says, "But instead of navy, you'll see cobalt. Greens (No. 8) might be Kelly green."

She says the change will be particularly notable on sport cars and small pickups, where school-bus yellow (No. 10), bright orange and red (No. 6) make dramatic statements.

Even staid silvers are getting a colorful update-- some of them can now be seen with green and silver tints.

-- Posted: Aug. 2, 2007
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