Got the blues: PPG automotive colour trends report

by | Nov 25, 2019 | 0 comments

PPG unveiled its 2019 automotive colour trends report, showing a rise in blue automobiles. Holding a steady 8% of the total global colour popularity data – second only to neutrals like white, black, silver and gray – blue reflects consumers’ desire for adventure, relaxation and reliability.

Europe saw the largest number of consumers choosing blue for their automobile in 2019, at a high of 11%, up one percent from last year. Close behind, in North America blue represents 10% of automotive builds – the highest next to neutral hues. Asia Pacific saw 7% of consumers choosing blue, with South America having only 2% blue automobiles.

While it’s anticipated that blue automobiles will increase for the next four years, the hue offers many nuanced shades that can be transformed with different pigment effects, fine or coarse metallic flakes, luminous micas and sparkling glass flakes. Chromatic blues with slight red or green undertones are already appearing across the automotive market and will continue to evolve over the coming years.

“Now more than ever, consumers have a desire to make a statement – whether it be through their colour choices or the brands they buy,” said Jane Harrington, PPG manager, colour styling, automotive OEM coatings. “We see bolder colours making a comeback in many consumer segments. The versatility of automotive blues – from light sky blue to rich indigo – allows consumers to make a statement, while also ensuring the colour maintains a certain level of practicality.”

Consumers aren’t just choosing blue hues in their automobiles, but also gravitate toward the colour in their homes, electronics and automotive accents.

The PPG paint brand earlier this year announced its 2020 Colour of the Year, Chinese Porcelain (PPG1160-6), a blend of cobalt and moody ink blue that imparts calmness, hopefulness and restful sleep – precious commodities in a restless world.

“The need for simplicity and escapism from technology is, in part, the reason that consumers are craving blues that bring us closer to natural elements such as the sea and sky – elements that represent peace and serenity,” said Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager, PPG paint brand. “The increasing need for connection in an unmoored world was a reoccurring theme at PPG’s Global Colour Workshop.”

“Beyond colour preferences on the exterior of automobiles, consumers are looking to incorporate more colourful choices for their wheel accents,” said Jennifer Solcz, PPG global segment manager for wheel, industrial coatings. “We’re seeing wheel designers now opting for complementary blue and blue-gray tones, and bolder choices for logos, racing stripes and other embellishments for a cohesive, custom look.”

The themes represented in PPG’s 2020 trends palette, titled “Flow,” help interpret the rapid changes taking place in three core areas of human experience: technology, climate and globalization.

To process these changes and meet current needs, consumers must adapt and flow with knowledge, balance and creativity. The automotive colour trends embody this ongoing evolution, and will continue to appear in the marketplace throughout 2023 in the following three themes:

On the Move: A trend theme representing joyful creativity and unexpected colour combinations. This includes a saturated spectrum with layered tint effects that express high-energy mobility.

At the Core: A design theme that is balanced and grounded in simplicity and well-being. The palette contains subtle ceramic tones with a nostalgic influence. Fundamental shades include serene blues and organic greens representing responsibility and conscious consumption.

In the Know: A theme connecting nature with technology, this palette includes neutral shades combined with authentic metal-inspired gold and copper tones that are muted and earthy. Raw gemstone hues are an accent to the palette.

Because PPG paint colours are sold in more than 70 countries, developing colour trends is a global, cross-cultural effort.

Collaboration between PPG’s more than 20 color experts generates a fact-based approach to colour trends and consumer preferences, resulting in a unified voice on colour direction. The company’s colour stylists around the world specialize in industries that include consumer electronics, architectural, automotive and aerospace.

PPG experts study consumer mindsets, building material trends, wellness preferences and more to select a curated colour forecast that resonates and is reflective of current consumer attitudes and spans cultures, regions and markets.

For more on automotive colour trends, visit


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