The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

DuPont Automotive Survey Says Naturals, High-Tech Colors Will Lure More Buyers

5 January 1998

Green, White Top 1997 Vehicle Color Picks - Naturals, High-Tech Colors Will Lure More Buyers, DuPont Automotive Survey Says

    TROY, Mich., Jan. 5 -- North American vehicle buyers in 1997
continued their love affair with green and white, but their affections are
being drawn toward natural and high-tech colors, such as light brown metallic
and silver, according to the DuPont Automotive 46th annual color popularity
survey.  Interior colors, meanwhile, continue to be dominated by neutrals,
such as gray and brown, according to a complementary study by Industrial
Fabrics Association International.
    DuPont measures exterior vehicle color popularity in four segments --
luxury, full/intermediate, sport/compact and truck/van -- as a baseline for
predicting trends four to six years in advance of production.  The 1997
results support the DuPont Automotive "Color For a New Millennium" analysis,
which suggests consumers increasingly will opt for earth tones with brighter
hues and shades punctuated by colors that evoke high technology into the year
2000 and beyond.
    Highlights of the 1997 survey of popular vehicle colors follow (see
attached chart for specific data):

    Results by Vehicle Category
    * Light brown metallic has grown in popularity to lead the bellwether
luxury car category, with green, black and silver gaining on white.
    * Light brown jumped four percent in the full/intermediate market, gaining
ground on the two leaders -- green and white.
    * Green continues to dominate the sport/compact and full/intermediate
categories, but lost footing to light brown, silver and red.
    * White outdistanced green to remain the perennial favorite in the
truck/van category, which represents more than 40 percent of all vehicles
sold.  Black gained ground in third place.

    Overall Results
    * Silver, one of the emerging  "high-tech" colors, increased in popularity
in three of the four categories, doubling in the luxury category.
    * Black, always a popular vehicle color which evokes high technology and
mystery, continues its trend toward a top-three color in all categories, most
notably increasing in the luxury and truck/van (including SUV) categories.

    "Light brown will continue to evolve into gold, often using advanced
DuPont pigment technology to produce a 'true gold' feeling," said Bob Daily,
color marketing manager, DuPont Automotive.  "High-tech black, metallic
treatments of silver and other machine-influenced colors also will gain in
popularity.  These colors accentuate soft, rounded aerodynamic vehicle
profiles, and highlight crisp lines we see in the refinement of aerodynamic
vehicle designs."
    At the same time, as the leading supplier of fibers for automotive
upholstery, DuPont is tracking the popularity of interior complementing colors
for a complete styling package.  North American interior color choices from
1997 are: gray, 42 percent; beige/brown, 27 percent; blue, 16 percent; red,
six percent; black, four percent; green, four percent; and white, one percent.
    "We're working to translate our unique technology and number-one brand
position for man-made fibers in fashion apparel and home fabrics into exciting
new possibilities for upscale vehicles," said Daily.  "New color effects and
tactile qualities are being developed based on fiber cross-sections, yarn
textures and improved stain and soil resistance."
    Some of these new interior technologies will be displayed at the 1998
Society of Automotive Engineers International Exposition and Congress in
Detroit this February.
    "The marriage of technology and aesthetics is of paramount interest to
today's automotive design engineers, stylists and brand managers," said Daily.
"Color effects and tactile aesthetics combine with vehicle styling and
engineering features to define and differentiate vehicle brand character."
    As the leading supplier of topcoat finishes (both color and clearcoat) to
the North American automotive industry, DuPont develops its analysis from its
business interests in automotive, fashion apparel, home furnishings and
graphic arts throughout the world.  DuPont currently is showing automotive
stylists more than 100 exciting new colors for year 2000 models, and leads in
the number of new colors chosen for new vehicle production throughout the
    With world headquarters in Troy, Mich., DuPont Automotive offers more than
100 product lines to the global automotive industry, including plastics,
advanced composites, finishes, fibers, fabricated products, refrigerants,
specialty chemicals and lubricants.  DuPont worldwide automotive sales were
$3.8 billion in 1996.

                            1997 DUPONT AUTOMOTIVE

Numbers reflect percentage of vehicles manufactured during the 1997 model year
                               In North America

                           1997    1996
    1.  Lt. Brown          19.8    17.8
    2.  Med./Dk. Green       13    11.8
    3.  White Met.         12.6      13
    4.  Black                11       9
    5.  White              10.1    14.6
    6.  Silver              6.7     3.3
    7.  Lt. Green           5.7     5.4
    8.  Med. Red            5.2     7.3
    9.  Dk. Red             4.6     5.4
    10. Dk. Blue              4     7.5


                           1997    1996

    1.  Med./Dk. Green     17.5    18.8
    2.  White                17    17.5
    3.  Lt. Brown          14.4    10.3
    4.  Black                 8     7.3
    5.  Med. Red            7.4     9.5
    6.  Med. Gray           6.6       3
    7.  Dk. Red             5.2     4.7
    8.  Silver              4.8     5.7
    9.  Bright Red            4       4
    10. Med. Blue           3.9     5.2


                           1997    1996
    1.  Med./Dk. Green     20.3    21.2
    2.  White              13.9    14.4
    3.  Black              12.9    12.9
    4.  Lt. Brown          12.8    10.4
    5.  Bright Red          9.1     8.7
    6.  Med. Red            7.5       9
    7.  Silver              5.7     4.3
    8.  Med./Dk. Blue       5.4       5
    9.  Purple              3.4     3.5
    10. Bright Blue         2.7     3.3

                          1997     1996
    1.  White             23.2     23.6
    2.  Med./Dk. Green    18.5     20.7
    3.  Black             11.2     10.3
    4.  Bright Red         7.6      7.6
    5.  Med. Red           7.5      6.1
    6.  Lt. Brown          6.1      5.1
    7.  Dk. Red            5.2      5.8
    8.  Silver             3.7      3.6
    9.  Med./Dk. Blue      2.9      4.6
    10. Teal/Aqua          2.6        5

SOURCE  DuPont Automotive