Auto colorists paint future in shades of blue, brown
Only a handful of people know what new vehicles will look like in 2009. But automotive paint supplier PPG Industries already has a good idea what colors those vehicles will be.
Blue will get more popular in the next four years as more dramatic shades are introduced. Yellows and oranges will get richer and warmer. Reds will glow in deep shades of cranberry and wine, and dark brown will make a comeback.
"Not everything in here is gospel, but it's a general direction," said Lorene Boettcher, PPG's manager of global design and color marketing.
Each fall, Pittsburgh-based PPG hosts a color tour for auto industry officials so they can look at upcoming trends and choose colors they can refine further in their own studios. Future colors are identified from trends in fashion, interior design, architecture and even cosmetics, Boettcher said. (Emphasis added)
As hybrid vehicles get more popular, drivers may be looking for earthy, natural tones. Luxury makers, always looking for ways to set their vehicles apart, might choose rich blends that change slightly depending on the light or paints with flecks of silver-coated glass.
PPG has 20 colorists in North America, Europe, Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, India and Australia. They work separately to identify trends and then bring all their ideas together for the show. This year's show features 130 new colors.
Silver is the worldwide favorite right now, making up 37 percent of vehicles produced. White is second at 14.4 percent. Blue and black are right behind, at 12.7 percent and 11 percent.
Silver will remain popular for several more years, Boettcher said, and PPG is trying to enhance it by experimenting with blends like silvery green and technology that makes paint look like liquid metal.
Boettcher said natural tones will be a hit, including leathery browns and sophisticated, muted metallics. One color she showed was inspired by cappuccino, another by burlap.
Many auto executives have steered away from brown because it was a popular color when the industry went through tough times in the 1970s, she said. But that will start to change.
"That's going to start at the high end and work its way down to the mainstream," Boettcher said. -- By DEE-ANN DURBIN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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