The 2005 model year is the fifth in succession that silver has ranked as the most popular vehicle colour in North America, according to the annual survey conducted by paint supplier PPG Industries.

Silver topped all colours among North American vehicles produced in the 2005 model year with 26%, down 1% from last year. Silver also remained the leading colour for all North American vehicle segments, with the highest share (32%) coming in the sport/compact category.

“As predicted, bright silver will remain a favourite in North America and around the world for several years to come due to its appeal among designers to highlight the form and shape of a vehicle,” said PPG’s Lorene Boettcher. “We are continuing to explore a variety of advancements and innovations in technology that will bring silver closer to a liquid-metal appearance – the next hottest trend for this hue.”

White was the second-most popular colour in 2005 at 16%. Naturals – gold, copper, champagne and lighter shades of brown and yellow – appeared on 14% of vehicles produced in North America. Red came in at 13%, followed by blue at 12%. Black captured 11% of the market, while green was 5% and niche and specialty colours accounted for 3%.

Global colour trend data  shows that silver also led global colour popularity with 37% in 2005, up 2% from 2004. White was second with 14.4%, followed by blue at 12.7%, black with 11%, red at 9.4%, naturals with 8.8%, green at 4.3% and others/specialty colours just over 2%.

PPG has developed 130 new colours for consideration by automotive designers for the 2008-2009 model years.

“There is a desire to reinvigorate the automotive palette with colour,” said Boettcher. “Colour preference has been in neutral mode for so long that we’re now starting to see a push for more colours to emerge and for technology to put a new twist on classic shades. We’re looking to take colour to the next level.”

Predictions include blue – popularity will increase as bolder and more dramatic shades are developed. Liquid-metal and smoky lilac shades will help increase the popularity of this colour in the luxury vehicle segment.

Green – teal will be replaced by youthful blue-green shades. A glass- sparkle effect will create richer shades of green for luxury car buyers who want distinction. Green infused with gold effects will add new dimensions to sportier shades.

Naturals – yellows and yellow-oranges will become richer and warmer and will continue to gain momentum. A dark brown, with glistening textural effects, will be introduced and light-to-medium soft beige browns will be infused with shimmer effects.

Red – inspired by wood, this colour family returns to warm, dark and glowing shades. Classic and stable hues resemble deep cranberry and wine. Purple with a heavy-blue influence will capture the sports car segment. Bright impact reds will sustain their popularity.

Neutrals – bright silver remains a favourite. A new set of neutrals will emerge in silvery beige, blue-greens and deeper greenish charcoal shades. White-yellow pearls with more special effects will continue in popularity.

“Incorporating new coatings technologies into colour families will continue to be the primary focus of automakers looking to differentiate their vehicle brand,” said PPG’s Jerry Koenigsmark. “Glass flakes and silver coated glass flakes add intense, bright sparkle when used in dark and medium hues. We are also experimenting with a technology that gives waterborne colours a vibrant liquid metal appearance.”