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Car colours to expect in 2018

By David Bonnici, 13 Oct 2016 Car Style

car colour palettes

Carmakers are already considering what new colours will adorn their future new-model line-ups.

Trends in car colours never stay the same. The risk is that one day you might be stuck with a car whose hues aren’t quite in vogue. The good news is your chocolate brown or mushroom duco might soon be back in fashion, with car manufacturers already considering colour palettes for their 2018-19 models.

One thing that that won’t change is the popularity of conservative tones, particularly in the Asia Pacific markets where white remains most popular (44 percent), followed by black (16 percent), natural and silver (tied at 10 percent each), and grey (seven percent).

Wet colour swatch

While various shades of these sedate colours fall in and out of favour, they’re not subject to the fickle trends facing brighter colours.

So how do colours become trendy?

In some ways this is dictated by colour forecasting experts at coatings manufacturers such as BASF and Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) that come up with colour palettes for manufacturers to pick from --which is why you’ll often see different car companies coming out with similar new colours.

Hyper HD colours

The popularity of colours reflects real-world moods that colour experts try and tap. As an example, according to PPG greys were popular a few years ago because of the gloom associated with the global financial crisis, even among those able to afford a new car.

According to BASF, this year’s trends were “influenced by the interconnection of digitalisation and social developments”, with blues being very popular. A quick look at all the social media app logos on your phone would concur with this.

car colour palettes


Meanwhile PPG has already designed four colour palettes for 2018-19 reflecting different global trends and moods. These include (with a lot of awful designer speak edited out):

  • Hyper HD: An extroverted “colourful and impactful theme that welcomes self-expression, performance and modern technology” based around primary colours. Small-car buyers, take note.

  • I'm Perfect: A more organic palette “influenced by nature, with somewhat subdued hues such as foliage greens as well as copper and brass metal tones” that looks more like a swatch for a bridesmaid’s dress than a car.

I'm Perfect colour swatch

  • Knight’s Watch: A no-doubt Game of Thrones-inspired theme “providing sturdy reassurance for safety and security through traditional colours representing refuge and confidence” including dark, dramatic jewel tones and blackened metal shades. It looks like a Holden colour chart from 1976.  

  • Lucid Dreams: This colour “reflects calmness, sensitivity and privacy, portraying a refuge from technology overload with fluid, graceful design” and is perfect for anyone who listens to Smooth FM while they drive.

Lucid Dreams car colour palette

PPG also nominates a paint colour of the year. The 2016 award has gone to Violet Verbena, a “grayed-off, moody purple with a chameleon-like presence”.

Can't get enough? Now find out how car colour can affect your resale value.