Chrysler is predicting that silver, claimed by some industry pundits to have had its day in Europe, along with new paint colours “influenced by silver”, will be popular in the US 2003 vehicle model year which begins this autumn.

“From cars to appliances, silver will be a strong colour for many mainstream products,” said Chrysler director of colour, fabric and mastering design Margaret Hackstedde.

“One out of every four vehicles that we sell is silver. For the 2003 model year, we’ll start to introduce fresh, new silver-influenced hues on our cars, trucks and minivans.  Silver is a technical, refined color that reflects the continuing technology boom. We’ll also see blue, along with a variety of blue shades, emerge as a popular colour choice in 2003.”

Chrysler uses high-image concept vehicles such as the Pacifica to introduce new colour ideas. In much the same way some concepts actually make production (eg PT Cruiser convertible), concept vehicle colours can also find their way into production plant paint lines.

The 2004 Pacifica, due out late in 2003, will be available in satin jade, an evolution of silver with “a strong hint of green”. Satin silver accent finishes will feature on the instrument panel, shifter knob and auto transmission surround.

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The upcoming Crossfire sports coupe will be offered in a new sapphire silver with metallic accents inside on the doors, steering wheel and instrument cluster.
Satin jade will be offered on 2003 minivans and, later, on Sebring convertibles and sedans.

First shown on the Dodge MAXXcab concept truck in 2000, butane blue will be introduced on 2003 minivans and the Pacifica. Electric blue will be offered on the PT Cruiser, while light blue will be introduced on the Stratus and Sebring coupes.

To formulate colours for future vehicles, Chrysler employs staff dedicated solely to the task.

With a two- to three-year timeframe for bringing a new model to market, the challenge for an automotive designer is to predict which colours will be popular in the distant future. Chrysler typically offers 10 colours for each model line.

“We refer to industry colour forecasts, including the colour marketing group and the international colour authority, in order to validate our colour direction,” Hackstedde said.

“We have our fingers on the pulse of which colours will be popular in the future.”