The Chevrolet Blazer will be dumping its base engine for the 2022 model year. The naturally-aspirated, 2.5-liter motor always felt as though it would have been more at home in a vintage Plymouth Acclaim or original S-10 Blazer, however. Removing the 193-horsepower unit from the modern crossover, which can be optioned to weigh in excess of two tons, probably isn’t going to make anyone’s eyes well up.
In exchange, the manufacturer has seen fit to expand the color palette.
Axalta released its 68th Global Automotive Color Popularity Report today, and it said 81 percent of vehicles are white, black, gray or silver. White at 38 percent is the most frequently purchased automotive color worldwide and has been for 10 years consecutively. Black remains at 19 percent year-over-year and is a luxury vehicle favorite. Gray, at 15 percent, is up two percent and is at a 10-year high. Meanwhile, silver is in decline in all regions, now at just nine percent. This shift from silver to gray in many markets is its perception as a more modern and luxurious color.
Longer, more spacious, and sporting a newly independent rear suspension, General Motors’ 2021 full-size SUV clan is ready to tap pent-up consumer enthusiasm… just as soon as the manufacturer scrubs off the paint-marring insect secretions.
It seems the General’s big SUVs have run into a seasonal issue near their Texas home base.
In each and every one of us lurks a number of hidden longings. Yours truly, as a child and even later, used to yearn to one day work at the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Florida.
That clearly didn’t pan out. They probably demand a degree in science-y things, the jerks. Oh well.
Other yearnings aren’t quite so specific, and I think one thing we all share as a diverse population of individuals is the desire for more choice. To express ourselves in one of the dwindling ways that’s still socially acceptable. I’m talking, of course, about color. Paint color.
A friend once had a ’94 Olds 88 with delaminating paint, souring the Olds ownership experience and causing him to pine for his recently departed ’86 model. The newer model’s hood and trunk lid looked like hell, but at least he wasn’t alone in his misery (there were a lot of peeling 1990s GM cars on the road at the time).
Toyota owners, on the other hand, are used to bragging about their vehicles’ longevity, dependability, and solid resale value, making issues like peeling paint a black eye in an otherwise wholesome relationship. It’s worth noting that they’re among the most loyal customers on the market.
These owners will be happy to hear the automaker plans to cover the cost of applying a whiter shade of pale to the exterior of their older Toyota models.
I sparked a minor Twitter argument this week after offering up an image of a brand new car that’s available in a truly horrible exterior color. Public Car Twitter opinion mobilized quickly and angrily against my take, and only a couple others were brave enough to take my side against such a visual crime.
Today we talk paint.
“You can have any color you want, so long as it’s white… or silver,” General Motors not so famously told this writer last summer, after a disheveled man walked through their doors in search of a bargain-basement ride.
Yours truly made the right choice, and it seems the rest of the world followed. White is by far the world’s most popular automotive paint color, topping a palette that shuns vividness and excitement with a passion. Thankfully, a color this writer loathes due to its overuse in the previous decade is still dropping, falling to its lowest point in more than a decade.
We told you recently about an odd issue Kia’s having with a select group of rear-drive Stinger sports sedans. It seems those painted in eye-catching Sunset Yellow have a tendency to flake and peel — like a Canadian at the beach. In short, the paint won’t stay on, and Kia traced the source back to some oil residue that made its way into the vibrant coating sprayed on a small number of Stingers.
In the U.S., just 400 special edition Sunset Yellow Stingers found buyers, making the issue quite limited in scope, but nonetheless troubling. Buyers won’t be happy once the sedan starts shedding its skin. Luckily, Kia has a plan.
Kia’s Stinger burst onto the automotive landscape in what seems like the rear-drive sedan’s twilight years, enlivening the lower end of the market with its pleasing profile, available twin-turbo V6, and palate of eye-catching colors. It’s one of those colors — Sunset Yellow — that’s causing headaches for the automaker.
Apparently, the Stinger might decide to shed that paint one day.
Contrasting paint hasn’t been commonplace on automobiles in over half a century, but it appears to be regaining some of its lost momentum lately. Everything from the Bugatti Chiron to the Toyota Camry offers separate bodywork hues these days.
Of course, we don’t know if this is a trend poised to explode across the industry or something that will be relegated to a handful of models before fizzling out. However, with new crossovers like the Volkswagen T-Roc, Range Rover Velar, and Volvo XC40 available with contrasting rooflines, it seems ready to enjoy at least 15 minutes of fame.
While local climate plays a role, prefered automotive paint schemes largely come down to personal feelings and dealer inventory. There is also the matter of what colors are trending within the industry and, according to a recent consumer survey tabulation from iSeeCars.com, gender.
The automotive data research company compiled survey results from over 700,000 consumers and close to 30 million used car sales between 2015 and 2016 to find gender biases for specific colors. For the most part, color preferences are irrelevant. But there are a few standout shades that one group seems to prefer over the other.
We took it for granted at the time, but automakers provided us with a cornucopia of lavish colors in the mid-1990s. While dark greens were the most popular hue of the day, there was no shortage of teal, deep red, beige, gold, dark blue, metallic purple, and burnt orange cruising down the boulevard, tempting us like a mobile bag of Wild Berry Skittles.
Then, in 2001, every single car in North America was legally required to be painted silver. It seemed like a neat idea to everyone at the time but, as reality set in, society soon realized its grievous error. Ashamed at our inability to choose correctly, society then decided to abandon color entirely. White returned to take its bland place at the top of the heap in 2006 and has stayed there ever since. Globally, white accounted for 38 percent of all cars manufactured in 2016. America’s current penchant for wild colors like black, silver, and gray lessens its continental death grip to a more-modest 25 percent.
The global obsession with grayscale is supposed to change, however, as blue seems poised for a comeback.
TTAC Commentator Towncar writes:
I have some piddling little aggravations and head-scratchers, and it appears those serve to entertain the B&B as well as anything.
- Black Pillars: When and why did the black B-pillar take over the world? Presumably it’s to make you think it’s not there and the car’s a hardtop, but there’s never been a single case where that worked — not one. Even on a black car, the finish is sufficiently different that you can tell the pillar is present.
- Colors: Why are there no good interior colors anymore — red, blue, green? The only current one I know of, fairly recent, is the Rhapsody in Blue interior on the new Continental, and you have to buy the ultra-highline Black Label edition to get it. Which brings up the question: why do so few interiors really match anymore? It used to be that two-tone interiors looked designed that way, but now they just seem to have been put together from parts for different cars.
- Gas Fillers: Have any of the fool engineers who put gas fillers on the passenger’s side ever tested this concept out by going through a gas line backwards? (By the way, this pertains to the G6 convertible you advised me to buy about four years ago, and belated thanks, it’s generally great.)
- Wipers: Why has the old-fashioned opposed (clap hands) style come back of late years? I saw some kind of little Ford with this lately, and I think a Honda or two. And pertaining to the newer parallel style, what determines which side the wipers “point” to? It’s almost always the passenger’s, but I can think of two cars having them point the other way — the suicide-door Continentals of the ’60s and the Avanti. Why?
- TPMS: OK, this is actually semi-serious. How good are these things? The G6’s dash display gives pressures, but seldom agrees with my trusty tire gauge at the best of times, and changes in temperature and even bumps in the road sometimes trigger the warning light. Can the sensors be adjusted and/or calibrated for accuracy? And are the retrofit kits you can buy for older cars any good?
Three and a half years ago, I found myself blitzing down Wilshire Boulevard behind the wheel of what was then the only Rolls-Royce Wraith in the country. There was much to admire about the car: the saturnine (as in Saturn V, not the dour deity) thrust of the blown V-12, the transcendent sound system, the Starlight Headliner that makes every late-night date a romantic one. Truth be told, I expected all of that. What I did not expect was to be utterly smitten by the Wraith’s two-tone paintjob.
What was the last mass-market passenger car to be sold in the United States with an optional two-color finish? Don’t tell me that it was the ’90s Explorer Eddie Bauer, because I don’t want to think about that despicable slug of a trucklet. Perhaps it was the ’80s Town Car? The bustleback Seville? And could two-tone paint jobs ever make a comeback? I think they might, and I’ll tell you why.
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