Fashion Repeats itself in the Car World
GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - The hot car color right now is black, in both solid and metallic. The "blackest" of all Volvo's car models is the baby of the family, the Volvo C30.
"Color trends in clothes make their way to interior decorating and then come to cars. Car buyers often need to acclimatize to a fashionable color before taking it on board," says Cilla Stark, designer and color specialist at Volvo Cars.
In recent years, we have seen a black trend in fashion and interior decorating. And now black has beaten the previously so popular silver metallic as the car color to be seen in.
More than 25 percent of Volvos sold worldwide are black. And it needs to be remembered that there are always at least 15 different colours to choose between for each Volvo model.
When the individual models are examined, Volvo's smallest model, the C30, takes the clear lead: almost 29 percent are black.
"Black can be truly elegant but it can also be avant-garde. Many younger customers buy the Volvo C30 because they want a tough car that makes a statement," says Cilla Stark.
The Volvo C30 may well appeal to younger buyers but they usually do not have the most generous of budgets for their cars. Black creates the right image from the very outset.
Having said that, the Volvo V70 estate car is also highly popular in black, with 25 percent of all cars sold specified in that color. And when it comes to the latest addition to the Volvo range, the Volvo XC60, the proportion of black cars is 27.7 percent.
"The entire car world is black today. The silver wave is definitely ebbing away," affirms Cilla Stark.
Alongside the growing number of black cars, white cars are gaining in popularity too.
"White is part and parcel of the popularity of black because it is based on contrast - just as in the fashion industry and in interior decorating," says design director Lena Jiseborn.
The hunt for a confident attitude, the quest for change and trendy colors in other spheres too are some of the reasons behind the increased popularity of black cars. But is there an additional explanation?
"It is possible that when the economic situation is poorer, people take a long hard look at their private economy and choose "safer" colors. Having said that, the opposite is also true," says Lena Jiseborn and continues:
"There are always people with money. In these circles, there is a clear trend right now towards various warm metallic shades such as gold, bronze and copper."
That trend neatly matches the second best-selling color for the latest model, the Volvo XC60. The hot color right now is Terra Bronze. 22.4 percent of all Volvo XC60s sold so far are in Terra Bronze, a metallic shade.
"We certainly had the right color at the right time with that one. That's great. Many of the people who choose to buy a new model are people who also want to be seen and who care a lot about how they appear," explains Cilla Stark.
The latest addition to the warm metallic color trend is the company's latest concept car, the Volvo S60 Concept. It has a warm copper metallic livery known as "Warm Liquid Copper".
In Volvo's color palette, there are another two warm metallic colors that have gained in popularity. They are Oyster Grey and Seashell Beige, accounting for 11 and 10 percent of sales respectively.
Bearing in mind what is already trendy today in the world of fashion and interior decoration, there is little doubt what the next big car color will be.
"If we look at men's fashions - which often dictate trends in the car world - what's big right now are various shades of red, from orange to burgundy. So the next big shift in car colors may well be red," says Cilla Stark.
Other trends that she predicts are that the classic navy blue may be ready for a return and that various shades of brown will retain their popularity.
Topcoats, Volvo C30
1. Black, solid and metallic 28.4%
2. Silver metallic 10.5%
3. White solid 9.5%
Topcoats, Volvo V70
1. Black, solid and metallic 25%
2. Oyster Grey metallic 11%
3. Silver metallic 10.8%
Topcoats, Volvo XC60
1. Black, solid and metallic 27.7%
2. Terra Bronze metallic 22.4%
3. Saville Grey metallic 16.2%
Topcoats, total Volvo
1. Black, solid and metallic 25.5%
2. Silver metallic 12.5%
3. Titanium Grey metallic 9.9%
Footnote: Volvo Cars offers three different black colors. They are solid black, metallic black and Ember Black metallic. The latter is reserved exclusively for the Volvo S80 and Volvo XC90.