DETROIT – GM is now paring down its international paint palette to help build stronger brand identities and bring more cost-saving uniformity to manufacturing, according to The Detroit News. At the same time, GM and other automakers are leading the way in developing high-tech finishes that add depth and texture to neutral paint colors, which tend to be the most popular. According to Christopher Webb, a color designer who works in GM’s Tech Center in Warren, the color blue is going to be the biggest story for ’07, ’08 and ’09. Sharp color and design have become selling points for everything from kitchen utensils to washing machines at Sears. Staying current can be tough for automakers, which must lock in vehicle designs and paint color choices about three years before a car or truck hits the market. At GM’s color lab in Warren, the design team just completed color selections for the 2009-model year and has begun working on 2010. While more than 50 percent of consumers still select silver, black, beige, or white when they go to buy a vehicle, GM designers are seeing a “return to color” in vehicle paints. However, they don’t expect an explosion of green, yellow, and purple cars on the road in coming years. The trend is more about infusing neutral shades with more color so they have a richer, more complex appearance, The Detroit News reported. GM is adding microscopic flakes to some paint that seem to change color in the light. One of the first applications is on the new Cadillac DTS sedan, which comes in a hue-shifting “titanium” gray that can look almost green or violet at times. And despite a $1,000 extra charge for the high-tech coating, titanium now accounts for 9 percent of DTS sales, compared with 6 percent in a regular gray. During the past two years, blue broke into the top five vehicle color choices, and red made gains in 2005, the report said.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials