Colors and Trends at the 2013 NY Auto Show

by Timothy Heyer

The 2013 New York International Auto Show, which was held at the Jacob Javits Center from March 29-April 7, was one of the biggest spectacles in the show’s 113-year history. With so many cars on display, vying for consumers’ eyeballs and wallets, manufacturers often relied on the unusual application of color to stand out from the crowd.


Perhaps the most surprising trend I observed was not color itself, but the way in which it was applied. Many manufacturers coated their showcase vehicles with a matte finish, rather than the usual gloss.

Matte cars

Although it looked and even felt great, the practical side of me wonders if it provides the same level of protection for the paint.

Diving deeper into the colors themselves, I noticed a shade of orange that I have to admit I found quite odd, yet found used on cars by several auto makers. Hot oranges have been used on cars for years and look great. This version was much less vibrant, more like a lively version of peach.


Toyota, Subaru and Dodge all used nearly the same shade, which leads me to believe there must be some demand for cars in this color.

Blue has long been a popular color for cars, but Jaguar and Ford put a different spin on an old favorite by displaying a lighter, non-metallic version of the color on their vehicles. They certainly appeared distinctive, if somewhat surprisingly flat.


Speaking of blue, Subaru’s WRX concept was adorned in a dazzling metallic blue that took “sparkle” to a new level. Paired with neon yellow-green brakes, emblem and exhaust tips, this was a vehicle that definitely took a cue form the runway to turn heads.


Volkswagen took a different approach to interesting color use. Most of the cars in their white booth were also white, allowing their key new models to really pop when presented in color. All of this was presented against a graffiti-inspired wall that gradated along a spectrum of warm, happy colors.

VW color

Volkswagen also latched onto color in their “eco” area, proclaiming, “Think beyond green. Think blue.” However, I think they may have been having some technical difficulties.

VW blue

And finally, although it was just shown in gray, the new Corvette looks absolutely amazing. I’ve never wanted one before, but wow, I feel like I’m going fast just looking at it.

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