Silver is the most popular colour with car-buyers around the world for the fifth year running

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    MARCH 2005

    In this issue

    MARKETS 2-3European carbon black plants

    operating at 95%Chinas masterbatch demand

    230,000 tonnes this year?

    COMPANIES 3-4Addcolour of Wigan added to

    Gabriels hostOxonica collaborates with

    Umicore to commercialiseOptisol sunscreens

    LITIGATION 4-5Chicago vs lead paint producersLOral vs UK & Danish customers

    re safety warnings &instructions for use of haircolorants

    Huntsman Tioxide vs insurers repink plastic window-frames

    TECHNOLOGY 5-7Innovations from: Akzo Nobel,

    Byk, Cabot, Ciba, Engelhard,Great Lakes, Huber, Merck,Potters, Shepherd, Standox &Teknor Apex

    EVENTS 8

    Last year, vehicle manufacturersaround the world used nearly 700 Mlitres of automotive coatings to painttheir newly manufactured cars, vansand light trucks prior to delivery todealers and final customers. With theacquisition of the Herberts group inMarch 1999, DuPont became theworlds largest supplier of OEM(original equipment manufacturer)automotive paints, ahead of PPG,BASF, Nippon Paint and Kansai Paint.DuPont is therefore well placed tocollate and analyse data on thecolours selected for new vehicles inmajor world markets. Every yearsince 1952, DuPont has published itsanalyses and its latest AutomotiveColor Popularity Report was recentlyissued. Trends of rising or fallingpopularity between the different

    colours and differences betweenregions are as avidly studied by paintand pigment suppliers as they are bymotoring fashion buffs.

    There have been some interestingchanges over the years. In the earlydays of mass production, Mr HenryFord was famous for his comment:You, the customer, can have anycolour you like so long as its black!Black was still the most popularcolour for cars worldwide in the1950s, whereas trucks and vans weretraditionally red or white. Throughoutmost of the 1990s, white was themost popular colour for cars in NorthAmerica and Europe. It remains thesecond most popular colour in NorthAmerica today, but it has fallen to fifthplace in the rankings in Europe. Thepopularity of silver for passenger cars





    P I G M E N T S P I G M E N T S P I G M E N T S P I G M E N T S P I G M E N T S P I G M E N T S

    NEW VEHICLES* COLOUR POPULARITY, BY REGION(% of regional totals, vehicles manufactured in 2004)

    Brazil Europe Japan US/Canada

    Beige 4% nsi nsi nsiBlack 15% 17% 13% 11%Blue/Turquoise 7% 16% 13% 11%Brown, all shades nsi 6% nsi nsiBrown, light only nsi nsi 2% 11%Green/Olive 3% 3% 4% 5%Grey, medium/dark 15% 11% nsi 10%Red/Pink/Purple 8% 7% 9% 14%Silver 31% 30% 37% 18%White 16% 8% 16% 16%Yellow/Gold 1% 1% 1% 2%Other colours 0% 1% 5% 2%nsi = not separately identified. Grey included with Silver in Japan.* Passenger cars, SUVs, MPVs, people-carriers, light trucks & vans Source: DuPont Automotive Color Popularity Report, Dec 2004

  • increased rapidly towards the end ofthe 1990s and in 1999 for the firsttime silver became the most popularcolour in all major markets. It hasretained its global dominance eversince. Commenting on the latestresults, the authors of the DuPontreport state: In Europe and NorthAmerica, growth in the popularity ofthe neutrals silver, grey, white andblack has levelled off, but in Japanthe neutral shades are still on the rise.One reason for the continuedpopularity of silver is the introductionthis past year of so many new vehiclemodels whose bold designs show wellin silver, perceived as a value colourthat evokes the notion of hi-tech.Perhaps surprisingly, thepredominance of the neutral shades ismost marked in Brazil, where theyaccounted for 77% of new vehiclesmanufactured in 2004. In Europe andJapan, the ratio was only 66% and inNorth America, the ratio was only 55%.

    In the Brazilian market, the mostsignificant shift in popularity between2003 and 2004 was the rise in black -from 10% in 2003 to 15% in 2004.There were slight declines in thepopularity of silver, red and blue.Between 2002 and 2003, the majorshift was the increase in silver and thecorresponding decline in white. In theJapanese market, there was a rise inthe popularity of the neutral shades,especially silvers and greys, between2003 and 2004. Blue retained itsshare at 13%, but the other chromaticcolours all lost market share.

    In North America, light trucks andsports/utility vehicles (SUVs)accounted for 53.2% of the totalvehicle units manufactured in 2004. Inthis category, white remains the mostpopular colour, with a 20% marketshare, boosted by commercial users,for whom clarity of vehicle signwritingis an important criterion. Silver has a16% market share, followed by red at14%. Light brown metallics increasedfrom 6% to 9% in the light truck andSUVs category. The passenger carmarket is divided into three sectors luxury (6.3% of total vehicle unitsmanufactured); intermediate (22.1%)and compacts (18.4%). In all threesectors, silver is the most popularcolour, ranging from 26% of the sectortotal in the luxury car sector to 20% ofthe sector total in the compact carsector. Reds have increased inpopularity in all three sectors to 9%

    in the luxury car sector; 12% in theintermediate car sector; and to 17% inthe compact car sector. Light brownmetallics increased their market-shareof the luxury car sector from 4% in2003 to 11% in 2004. The only otherdiscernible shifts were slightincreases in greens and yellows in thecompact car sector, but these coloursstill account for only 4% each of thesector total.

    In Europe, the intermediate sectoraccounted for 56% of the total vehicleunits manufactured in 2004. Thissector includes a high proportion offleet cars, owned or leased by abusiness or public sector organisation.Neutral shades, particularly silver, arepopular in this sector. Compact/minicars accounted for 24% of the totalvehicle units manufactured in 2004.Chromatic colours tend to be morepopular than in the larger car sectors,but white has increased in popularityin the compact car sector, especiallyin Southern Europe, where it isassociated with a sporty image. Whitenow accounts for 7% of the compactcar sector total. In the luxury carsector, silver predominates, with a32% market-share; black is second,with 22%; blue is third, with 17%. Thecategory comprising vans, multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) and people-carriers accounted for 15% of totalvehicle units manufactured in Europein 2004. This category is growing inimportance, relative to conventionalcars, but it is still much less importantin the overall total than in NorthAmerica. Within the Europeanvans/MPVs sector, silvers and greysincreased their combined share from22% to 31% of the sector total,comparing 2003 and 2004. At thesame time, white dropped from 45%to 30%. Apparently, the resale valueof white vans and MPVs is much lessfavourable than it was, so new buyersare choosing silvers, greys and blacksinstead.

    Announcing the publication of thisyears Automotive Color PopularityReport, DuPont concluded its pressrelease with comments by MsLeatrice Eiseman on what your carcolour says about you. For example,white is said to indicate a fastidiouspersonality, while dark blue indicatesa credible, confident and dependablepersonality and choosing yellow/goldfor your new car indicatesintelligence, warmth, a love of comfort

    and a willingness to pay for it. I thinkits true to say that as far as many ofour readers are concerned, thenumbers in this report may prove tobe far more stimulating than the text.

    Reg Adams

    Copies of DuPonts 2004 Global Automotive ColorPopularity Report are available from: Mr BruceMcLaughlan, Tel: +1 (313) 583 8003,

    MARKETSEuropean carbon black plants nowrunning at 95%, but imports are set toplay a greater role

    The Notch Consulting Group forecasts3.5%/y growth in carbon blackconsumption worldwide, raising thetotal from 7.9 M tonnes in 2003 to10.1 M tonnes in 2010. The totalvalue of carbon black consumptionwill increase by 5.1% to $8.1 bn. Onan average weighted value basis,carbon black prices will rise from $720/tonne in 2003 to $800/tonne in 2010.World consumption was 8.1 M tonnesin 2004, of which Europe accountedfor 25%, the NAFTA zone for 23%,China for 15%, Japan for 11%, therest of Asia/Pacific for 18% and therest of the world for 8%.

    European prices have notimproved much, partly because ofcontinuing feedstock cost pressuresand carbon black suppliers operatingmargins remain tight. Within the EU,operating rates at carbon black plantsare generally above 95% and nomajor plant expansions are inprospect in this region. Between 2002and 2004, 145,000 tonne/y of carbonblack capacity was retired in France,Spain, the UK and Germany.Following the rejection of anti-dumpingmeasures against Egypt and Russia,imports from both these countries areexpected to increase. In late 2004,capacity was expanded by AlexandriaCarbon Black in Egypt and byOmsktechuglerod in Omsk, Russia.European Chemical News, 7 Feb 2005, 82 (2133), 12

    North America can produce 18.4 Mtonnes/y of GCC

    Total North American capacity forground calcium carbonate (GCC) was

    2 MARCH 2005

    F O C U S O N P I G M E N T S


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