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11 Dec

White, Black and Green Reign for 2013

My first car was a red Firebird. I don’t even remember what the other choices were on the lot, but the red spoke to me and I was sold. Next car was a black Jeep Wrangler followed by a white Jeep Cherokee. Today, I am riding around in a deep-blue Hyundai Tucson.

With our cars, our clothes, and our gear, we express ourselves. Here is what the new year holds in terms of color trends.

Paint Company DuPont on Dec. 6 released its annual Color Popularity Report, and for the second year in a row white and white pearl are the most popular car colors in the world. Not surprisingly, basic black (and black effects) are second, followed by silver and gray. In the fifth slot is my color red with blue, brown/beige, green and then yellow.

Here in North America, the results stack up about the same as they do worldwide. Leading the color charge—or rather lack of it—are white and white pearl with black, silver and gray. Red, which was fifth worldwide, was also in the fifth slot for North America.

The DuPont report is now in its 60th year, and holds the distinction of being the largest and longest running report of its kind in the auto industry. It features automotive color popularity rankings and regional trends from 11 leading automotive regions of the world.

While white’s popularity has remained across all vehicle segments over the last decade, it historically had been most popular among the truck segment. Past advancements in pearlescent whites allowed this color to initially break into the luxury segments.

“Today, white tri-coats are more readily applicable to the global manufacturing base and evoke quality and value among a variety of vehicle segments,” according to Nancy Lockhart, DuPont color marketing manager. “Solid whites have been seen in vanilla shades, stone shades and the current preference of bright whites.”

“Silver peaked during the start of the digital age, between 2000 and 2006,” she continued. “We’re seeing more luxury vehicle purchases now that the economy has started to stabilize, and vehicles painted black/black effect are seen as luxury status symbols in several key global markets.”

Red, gray and brown/beige each gained a percentage point since last year’s report, while blue maintained equal share from the 2011 rankings.

For the first time since 1998, silver did not lead in any of the North American vehicle segments, but it did hold steady in third place overall. This might be due to black and white leading the charge as status symbols for luxury and quality.

Gray rose two percentage points this year with increases in the truck, luxury and intermediate vehicle segments. The top four preferences, white, black, silver, and gray, have represented the majority of popularity the last 10 years.

Red rounded out the top five color choices across each vehicle segment and consequently, overall in the region, with 10 percent of the market. Popularity rankings of red (10 percent), blue (7 percent), brown/beige (5 percent), yellow/gold (2 percent), and green (2 percent) show bright colors are widely noticed on the road but do not make up the majority of consumer preferences.

Colors in the “Noble Ambition” group represent exceptional luxury and quality—and are the hues most associated with luxury goods throughout history. Colors include a jewel-like green, “Ivy League,” a pearlescent white, “Prince Charming,” and a bold bronze, “Nobelist."

And speaking of green, Pantone has named emerald its Color of the Year for 2013. The company, which creates and matches colors for the fashion, home and beauty industries, among others, picks its top hue based on both how it's already being used and a prediction of sustained popularity.

The hue is representative of growth, renewal, healing, unity and regeneration, according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, all of which she said are long overdue.

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