By Jeff Gilbert

TROY (WWJ) — When Henry Ford offered his Model-T in “any color, as long as it’s black”, he didn’t realize how many choices he was giving customers.

“You could have said, ‘What kind of black do you want, Henry,’” said Jane Harrington, automotive color styling manager at PPG Industries, which produces and markets a full line of automotive paint and coatings. “Do you want one with an effect? Do you want a solid black? Do you want a black with a red cast, or a blue cast? He would have been very confused.”

Black, silver and white are the world’s most popular car colors, with 21 percent of all new vehicles registered last year coming in white.

But, Harrington says these colors come in dozens of different varieties, and new color are being added each year. This year alone, PPG had 70 new colors to show to auto companies. Those companies, Harrington says, are eager to have something new for their customers.

“Forty percent of consumers would like more color choices than what currently exists on vehicles. Thirty percent of that group would actually pay more for a vehicle that would express their personality more.”

As vehicle quality improves, Harrington sees style — including color — becoming even more important.

“Color is really a differentiator in the market place. It can really make a vehicle stand out, and be unique, and be very noticeable in the very competitive auto industry.”

Every year, PPG brings designers from the major auto companies to their automotive headquarters in Troy, and shows off the color trends of the future. Many of these trends come from other industries.

Things appear to be moving toward more “natural” colors.

“What we see is a very strong increase in gold and browns around the world,” said Harrington. “You see this in many consumer markets. Anywhere from fashion to interior design, the contract market, the kinds of colors that are used on residential and commercial buildings.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert


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