Silver, white and red were the most popular North American vehicle colours for the 2001 model year, according to coating supplier PPG Industries, whih surveyed 22 car makers around the world.

Over the last few years silver has significantly increased in popularity, displacing green, while white and red -- and blue in Europe -- continued to be popular.

Silver, from the neutral colour family, was most popular in North America with 19 percent of the market, while white and red decreased slightly to 16 and 15 percent, respectively, compared to the 2000 model year.

The natural colour family -- consisting of champagne, gold and lighter shades of brown and orange -- remained constant at 14 percent, followed by black and blue at 11 percent each, green at 10 percent and small niche and specialty colours at four percent.

Although silver was the colour of choice with more than 20 percent market share in three segments -- mid-size, sport/compact cars and sport utility vehicles/vans -- natural colours led the luxury segment with 22 percent and red was the top choice in 2001 for the truck segment with 22 percent.

Colour experts predict that silver has the greatest potential for growth with refined and brighter silver shades, influenced by expanding capabilities in technology and updated industrial designs, dominating consumer choices.

Coming new car colours on the horizon will include exciting shades such as light ice blue, medium teal, burgundy reds, wood-toned and orange browns and yellow shades of green.

Future colours will be more sophisticated and chromatic due to new effect pigments, which add sparkle and provide cleaner colours.