After seven years of being the single most popular vehicle colour in North America, silver has ceded its title to white and pearl white, says a study done by auto paints major DuPont Automotive Systems.
White''''s newfound popularity is a sign that a completely new colour - possibly red, blue or black - may emerge as North America''''s favourite hue within the next year or so. In the 55 years that DuPont has conducted the study, white usually emerges as a favourite for a year or two, in between changing trends.
Automakers depend on studies like DuPont''''s to determine how many vehicles of each colour they should make. Since most buyers purchase vehicles that are already produced and placed in dealer lots, the art of predicting which colours will succeed has become crucial. Automakers and dealers try to avoid having too many risky colours in their inventory. Sometimes, dealers are left with unsold vehicles in unpopular colours and have to sell them at deep discounts.
Silver was the longest-reigning top colour in the history of the study. Though it became known as a safe, and somewhat boring colour choice, silver was radical in 1999 when it first emerged as the favourite colour, associated with shiny new cellphones, emerging technology and stainless steel appliances. After the 9/11 attacks, silver came to represent safety. Car buyers also went for silver because they felt it had better resale value.
White, on the other hand, is considered a palate cleanser. It will likely have only a short stay at the top of the list, as consumers move on to deeper, more vibrant colours. But pearl white, which sparkles in the sun and changes slightly as you walk around a car, may keep buyers interested longer. It first became popular on luxury cars, and has since moved to SUVs and crossovers.
Some analysts feel white''s rise represents a collective unconscious urge to look for something safe in a topsy-turvy world that has so much muddy and unknown. White, they say, is the colour of clarification, and neutrals may continue to be popular as long as the economy remains dicey.
The study says white also has become popular in Japan and Mexico. Black is the most popular in Europe. In China, buyers prefer black and silver almost equally. In South Korea and Brazil, drivers still prefer silver by a wide margin.