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Old 05-24-2007, 08:49 PM   #1
NYCshopper
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Default A bold and bright future for car colors

A bold and bright future for car colors

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18844005/



Quote:
Glitzy new paint finishes on the rise in automotive industry

The color of your next car may come from the makeup counter. Bolder colors and glitzy paint finishes are on the rise in the auto market and promise to offset staid shades of black, gray, silver and white that persistently dominate the roads.

Color trends that affect every conceivable consumable — cars, purses, shoes, cell phones, lamps, linens, wallpaper — can often be traced back to only a handful of hue gurus. Li Edelkoort is one of them. Her ability to accurately predict color trends has given her cult status in the fashion and design industries. She runs the Trend Union, which provides color forecasting guides two years in advance of the seasons that cosmetic, fashion, interior and product designers work toward.

Edelkoort’s reports are bold juxtapositions, and the connection between her inspiration and a future trend often seem esoteric. In one of her current publications, for instance, a close-cropped photo of an eye with mascara-loaded lashes points to the auto world: an idea of outlined features and more outspoken trims, shown as an off-white car interior with heavily contrasting stitching.

One Trend Union report, the new twice-yearly Colour Tool, includes a section specific to the automotive world. “The idea is to show designers in all fields how different industries use color in inspiring ways,” says Edelkoort, who has worked with Citroen, Jaguar, Nissan, Renault and Volkswagen, although not only on color.

Another of the elite few color experts is Chris Webb, who heads color development at General Motors’ 11 design studios globally. “In selling cars, color has never been more important,” he says. In fact, 39 percent of consumers will go to another brand if the color they want isn’t available. A decade ago, that figure stood at 27 percent

The life of a hot new fashion color may be a matter of months in some cases, but car colors can last for years. High development costs, which Webb puts at roughly $250,000 per color, and rigorous testing, often lasting more than two years, create immense pressure for color studios to get the right colors on the right products.

The auto world’s color experts formulate new hues and hunt for trends years in advance; they draw inspiration from streetwear fashion to cell phones. GM’s studios have already formulated exterior colors for the 2009 model year and are currently putting the finishing touches on 2010. DuPont, one of the leading providers of automotive finishes, is currently hashing out its 2011 colors.

The most popular color currently on the market is silver, which appears in some variation on at least one-fifth of all cars worldwide, according to DuPont. Silver’s popularity is stabilizing and more subtle grays are emerging in its place, says Karen Surcina, a DuPont color marketing and technology manager. “We see a lot of differentiation in silver at this point,” she says. Showier silver variants are also starting to appear, such as Alubeam, a high-tech, lustrous finish which recently made its debut on the 2007 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG 40th Anniversary edition. The metallic finish has a higher luster than a traditional silver finish because the paint pigment particles are much smaller. Though Alubeam is currently only available on this top-tier Mercedes, a similar finish may appear on the mass market in several years. “We’re looking into liquid-metal-like chromes as an alternative to silver,” Surcina says

Greens are beginning to reappear after a downturn early in the decade, says GM’s Webb. “I believe this is partly due to the dominance of the leafy, midtone greens in the late '80s and early '90s, which left our customers with a dated image of that color family.” Webb says green will be widely available again on 2009 and 2010 models, and the hunter and forest greens popular in the '90s will be replaced with showier variants. GM has already unveiled a Savannah Green Metallic for its Saturn Vue and Ion, as well as Emerald Jewel Metallic, a modern-day version of classic British racing green, which will be seen on the Pontiac G6 and Solstice and Saturn Sky.

Blue has been a dominant color family in the 2000s, Webb says, and will continue to infiltrate other families — adding tints to silvers and grays, and enriching reds. While glitzy show cars may arrive in shimmering purple, they are not generally what the public wants, Webb says. “Trend colors will never penetrate the market, but they get you press coverage and magazine covers,” he says.

A blazing orange Chevrolet Camaro convertible concept was arguably the star of the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The 22-inch wheels and drop-top profile aside, much of this car’s mass appeal was due to its eyeball-grabbing orange color.

“I can’t claim the attention was all about the color. But the ‘Hugger Orange Tricoat’ played a big role in the Camaro convertible’s success,” says GM’s Webb, who helped develop the hue. “It’s a high-impact trend color based on a historical Camaro paint job [which first appeared in 1969]. Both the general consumer and the Camaro enthusiast totally ‘got it,’” he says.

Occasionally, what designers see as a “trend” color breaks into the mass market, as in the case of orange. Originally seen as a niche color, GM now offers it on three-quarters of its models. “Orange will be moving much more into a copper space in the future,” says DuPont's Surcina. “It’s a niche, and has been a “notice me” color.”

Technical developments and new techniques can also lead to new colors, as in the case of Xirallic, a man-made crystal that adds the appearance of movement and dimension, and can be especially useful in breathing new life into a classic or basic color, such as white or gray. Webb says that Xirallic will be used in nearly 50 percent of GM’s North American colors in coming years.

The Trend Union’s Edelkoort predicts the emergence of gold in the automotive universe. “A few years ago, we started to see gold as more of a color and less as a metal. We saw it taking over many domains — most notably, of course, the cosmetic industry,” she says. It made its way into everything from chocolate to running shoes. “It’s like gold came down from its pedestal.” But that doesn’t make it timid, she says. “It’s a little more exclusive, and you need to have more guts to have a gold car. But it’s becoming a very important second color after silver,” Edelkoort says.

Besides gold, she sees more metallic colors on the rise, including brass, bronze and tin. “I’m predicting a wave of patinated bronze colors will emerge — the greens, the darker tones.”

She also looks for brown to get big. Deep browns are already appearing in car interiors, such as on various BMW models and the Saturn Aura’s Morocco Brown offering. But metallic brown exterior finishes will emerge as well. “Brown is still a suspect color in the luxury market. But it’s very chic to have a dark brown car,” says Edelkoort. She points to a rich brown that Nissan is currently offering on its Japan-only Cube subcompact. “It’s small, square and brown — like a piece of chocolate,” she says.

Edelkoort agrees that there will be a return to the gray car. “We are tired of black and white, in symbolic terms especially. Gray represents a need for osmosis and dialogue, a middle of the road mentality, which we haven’t addressed for the last 15 years. I think it’s very interesting and avant-garde to be like a mouse,” she says
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:47 PM   #2
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Attention Subaru: We don't need yet another variant of gray or silver...
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromer View Post
Attention Subaru: We don't need yet another variant of gray or silver...
Ditto. Nothing says "I'm boring" like silver or gray.

~~Quentin
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:52 AM   #4
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i see that quentin wants the hot pink in the lower left quadrant
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:59 AM   #5
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The 70s are back?



oh hell yeah!
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:45 PM   #6
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WRB FTMFW!

Seems more and more cars out there from neons to chevys to other imports have a color thats pretty damn close to our WRB
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:49 PM   #7
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so cars will match clothes...

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Old 05-25-2007, 01:07 PM   #8
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I'm happy with "boring" white, thank you very much.

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Old 05-25-2007, 02:13 PM   #9
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The 70s are back?



oh hell yeah!
My parents have a 2002 in the rather boring Gulf Yellow (My eyes burn for a week after looking at it.)
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Old 05-25-2007, 04:00 PM   #10
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Black will always look nice.
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Old 05-25-2007, 04:03 PM   #11
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I’d like to see some better colors.

I really like that rust orange GM uses. I know someone on here had a wrx painted in that color. It looked good. I also like that orange they have for the new mustang. I don’t know the official name of it but I like it. It looks good in the sun. Some dark greens look cool too.

Don’t get me wrong though. Subaru’s WRB is a great color in the sun but, to me, it’s too common. Especially among impreza’s.
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by TurboRoo View Post
I’d like to see some better colors.

I really like that rust orange GM uses. I know someone on here had a wrx painted in that color. It looked good. I also like that orange they have for the new mustang. I don’t know the official name of it but I like it. It looks good in the sun. Some dark greens look cool too.

Don’t get me wrong though. Subaru’s WRB is a great color in the sun but, to me, it’s too common. Especially among impreza’s.
Burnt orange is awesome. It has replaced navy blue as my favorite color.
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:18 PM   #13
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My car is sort of a burnt orange metallic, which is fine for what it is, but it looks best in bright sunlight. It looks reddish (brick like) on overcast days and I've had more than a few people see a picture of it and think it is a red car. The color got replaced after just two years by a lighter orange - although I think it is still available on other models.
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Old 05-28-2007, 12:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post
Ditto. Nothing says "I'm boring" like silver or gray.

~~Quentin
Werd. The only colors I don't like on cars.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post
Ditto. Nothing says "I'm boring" like silver or gray.

~~Quentin
and nothing sells like them either.

SUVs
http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story....story=colorSUV

Midsize cars
http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story....=&aff=national

Sport and Compact cars
http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story....=&aff=national

Luxury Cars
http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story....=&aff=national

Last edited by SoDealer; 05-28-2007 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:50 AM   #16
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i'd like to see a subie entirely chrome colored. or entirely stainless steel like a delorean.


bizzaro likes teh shiny
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:54 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Qcanfixit View Post
i'd like to see a subie entirely chrome colored. or entirely stainless steel like a delorean.


bizzaro likes teh shiny
bizzaro ,bizzaro, bizzaro!
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:34 PM   #18
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Silver or gray are safe choices. Obviously, that is why it sells so well. I stand by my statement that it is hugely boring though. One of my favorite colors ever is blaze yellow from the 02 WRX. The Cashmere Yellow from the Ver VI STi was beautiful as well. BMW's Leguna Seca blue is another one of my all time favorites.

That said, both my GTI and MINI are white. On certain cars, white is very bold, though. My 2.5RS was silver because that was the only 4 door, 5MT that I could find with a decent amount of miles and no mods. I managed to offset the boring silver w/ cherry blossom red and gold, though.



Silverthorn Metallic is one of the more interesting silvers, though. It has a toupe hue to it when really cleaned up. Not as generic as most other silvers I see out there.

~~Quentin
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:39 PM   #19
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always bet on black

Rick B.
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:04 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post
Ditto. Nothing avoids a ticket like silver or gray.

~~Quentin
fixed it for ya
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromer View Post
Attention Subaru: We don't need yet another variant of gray or silver...
While I totally agree with you that I am sick of silver, I do have to disagree with you when it comes to variants of gray. DARK gray - like graphite color - is hot.

I personally think few color combinations are better than dark gray paint with black rims. Yummy.
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazdaz View Post
While I totally agree with you that I am sick of silver, I do have to disagree with you when it comes to variants of gray. DARK gray - like graphite color - is hot.

I personally think few color combinations are better than dark gray paint with black rims. Yummy.
That has a slight touch of the Steel Blue Metallic from the RB5, which has tons of blue in it. It is a very sexy color in person, btw.



~~Quentin
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Old 05-28-2007, 10:08 PM   #23
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^^ yea, that's another awesome variation of gray. BMW and Mercedes each have their own version too... like a steel blue color.



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Old 05-28-2007, 11:02 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post
That has a slight touch of the Steel Blue Metallic from the RB5, which has tons of blue in it. It is a very sexy color in person, btw.



~~Quentin
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazdaz View Post
^^ yea, that's another awesome variation of gray. BMW and Mercedes each have their own version too... like a steel blue color.
that's the current trend... mixing grays and silvers with hints of other colors like blues. everything is cyclical. colors schemes enter and leave vogue as people get tired of the norm. White, Silver, and Black have staying power for their own reasons. Everything else is subject to trends.
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