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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I needed a car in a hurry and were able to get a 2023 Kona in Cyber Silver on a few weeks notice. We had to decide on the car sight unseen. The dealership had no new cars (or even old cars in that color) in stock or color samples other than photos. When we got the car I was struck by how dull the color was. It isn't silver, it's light gray. In bright sunlight you can see a hint of metallic pigment, but not enough to give the finish depth. It might as well be gloss house paint.

I've since seen a similar characteristic with Thunder Gray (although the few metallic flakes show up better against the dark background so it has some depth in bright sunlight) and the light blue. I've also seen this lack of metallic pigment in some colors of upscale brands (BMW, Audi, etc.).

Are dull colors a trend/fad (depending on how long they are in favor), or are they caused by some other factor? Such as metallic pigment being in short supply, so colors are being modified to stretch the supply to more cars?
 

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Lots of new vehicles now coming in blah-gray....not sure why?! Manufacturers give the public what they want generally speaking......
I agree.

Look in any parking lot at a business, or at a mall etc and all you'll see is shades of black and grey with some white.
Apparently this is what the general public wants right now. Just like flat paint on cars is a thing right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think It is not metallic paint, i think it is pearl paint, there is irridescent pearl in the paint, it refract the color in different tint
I don't see any of the color shift or glow that is characteristic of pearlescent paint. It is as one of the later responders wrote, just flat (not really nonreflective, just without any specular depth).

I'm suspicious it isn't even clear coated. Just the paint layer as it used to be before metallic and pearlescent pigments became available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lots of new vehicles now coming in blah-gray....not sure why?! Manufacturers give the public what they want generally speaking......
Normally I would think that, but in this time of shortage the manufacturers can pretty much sell what they want of reasonably capable trims. So I could see them pushing the market in a direction that saves them lots of money. I would expect that metallic and pearlescent pigment is materially more expensive than conventional colored pigment. And eliminating the clear top coat would save materials, labor, and facility costs (probably approaching 50%). So, in this case I could envision manufacturers driving the market towards the simpler palettes we are seeing today and away from the more impactful but more expensive coatings used in the past.

Would be interesting to hear from someone who is involved in color forecasting to hear their take on what is driving this trend.
 

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I'm suspicious it isn't even clear coated. Just the paint layer as it used to be before metallic and pearlescent pigments became available.
I'm pretty sure almost all cars have a clear coat. Most of the paints used on cars today wouldn't stand up very well without that added layer of protection.

As to colors, it's been a slow transition to less bright colors now for a few decades. Non-descript colors and cars are less likely to be picked off by the police on the highway. I read the statistics on car color and speeding tickets somewhere a few years ago. Of course red tops the list, silver is near the bottom, as I imagine gray is too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm pretty sure almost all cars have a clear coat. Most of the paints used on cars today wouldn't stand up very well without that added layer of protection.

As to colors, it's been a slow transition to less bright colors now for a few decades. Non-descript colors and cars are less likely to be picked off by the police on the highway. I read the statistics on car color and speeding tickets somewhere a few years ago. Of course red tops the list, silver is near the bottom, as I imagine gray is too.
I understood that clearcoat became routine to protect metallic pigments from oxidation and UV attack. Cars were painted for many years without clearcoat. And I know that airplanes are painted without clearcoat unless the colored paint is metallic. The current dull colors may have little enough metallic pigment that they don't need clearcoat protection as long as the car company is willing to market the resultant colors.
 

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I understood that clearcoat became routine to protect metallic pigments from oxidation and UV attack. Cars were painted for many years without clearcoat. And I know that airplanes are painted without clearcoat unless the colored paint is metallic. The current dull colors may have little enough metallic pigment that they don't need clearcoat protection as long as the car company is willing to market the resultant colors.
Many of the color paints are low VOC and as such, don't stand up to the elements, the clear coat gives them both physical and UV protection. I seriously doubt these non-metallic painted cars are not clear coated. Now if you mean dull as in no sheen, then sure, I suppose they might not be. But it's my understanding that since the late 1980s all cars were clear coated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Many of the color paints are low VOC and as such, don't stand up to the elements, the clear coat gives them both physical and UV protection. I seriously doubt these non-metallic painted cars are not clear coated. Now if you mean dull as in no sheen, then sure, I suppose they might not be. But it's my understanding that since the late 1980s all cars were clear coated.
No, I was not referring to flat (non-glossy) colors, but to glossy colors having no specular highlights or depth to their appearance. Highlights are, as I understand it, result from highly reflective metallic and pearlescent particles of the paint pigments, and depth comes from a combination of the highlights and the clearcoat's visual effect. My speculation about the absence of clearcoat is based on the absence of "depth" among the new "dull" paint colors.

I'm also not sure that the change to low VOC auto paint formulations caused them to not stand up to the elements. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have some experience with painting small airplanes. The paints used there are essentially rebranded auto paints. The majority of the colors offered by Axalta (polyurethanes, used to be Dupont Imron), did not not require clearcoat for durability. The metallics did. The pearlescents were always given clearcoat to maximize their impact, and the conventional colors were sometimes given clearcoat for the same reason.

So, I'm still leaning towards the conclusion that the car companies are driving this shift to dull colors as a way to increase profits during the current car shortage. And if they are not driving the change, they are doing all in their power to exploit it until people are able to resist buying cars painted with these colors.
 

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No, I was not referring to flat (non-glossy) colors, but to glossy colors having no specular highlights or depth to their appearance. Highlights are, as I understand it, result from highly reflective metallic and pearlescent particles of the paint pigments, and depth comes from a combination of the highlights and the clearcoat's visual effect. My speculation about the absence of clearcoat is based on the absence of "depth" among the new "dull" paint colors.
My car is what you'd refer to as a dull color, it's most certainly not lacking in depth and it has a different look/color under different light levels. At night it takes on a very cool bluish-purple look. I guess because of the artificial lights.

As I said, I'm pretty sure all cars are clear coated. Some paints require it, but it adds to the longevity of the color and finish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My car is what you'd refer to as a dull color, it's most certainly not lacking in depth and it has a different look/color under different light levels. At night it takes on a very cool bluish-purple look. I guess because of the artificial lights.
Sounds like a a nice color. Definitely better than what I am describing as "dull". Color shifting pearlescent pigments are pretty sophisticated. I'm not seeing any color shifting with Hyundai Cyber Silver. I also didn't see it in Hyundai Thunder Gray or Blue Wave (although my exposure to them was limited to different degrees of sunlight from bright direct sun to heavy overcast...not at night).
 

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Sounds like a a nice color. Definitely better than what I am describing as "dull". Color shifting pearlescent pigments are pretty sophisticated. I'm not seeing any color shifting with Hyundai Cyber Silver. I also didn't see it in Hyundai Thunder Gray or Blue Wave (although my exposure to them was limited to different degrees of sunlight from bright direct sun to heavy overcast...not at night).
It's not pearlized. Not sure how it looks so different under different lights. In bright sunlight, I'm sure it would meet your definition of dull gray. But the electric shadow color on my Elantra seems chameleon-like. Look it up on the web and look at the different images you'll find. I've never seen it look like the concrete gray in some of the pictures, but you'll see the range of colors it seems to be.
 

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I think what you guys are talking about is not matt or semi-gloss, but just ordinary, uninspired colours - even though glossy.

My Kona in Dark Knight looks dull dark grey in subdued light but in sunshine it sparkles with a pearlescent sheen. Whether dull dark grey or showing off in sunlight, the paint is still a glossy finish.

I like it in the sunlight, but it is uninspiring and insipid at other times.
 

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My wife and I needed a car in a hurry and were able to get a 2023 Kona in Cyber Silver on a few weeks notice. We had to decide on the car sight unseen. The dealership had no new cars (or even old cars in that color) in stock or color samples other than photos. When we got the car I was struck by how dull the color was. It isn't silver, it's light gray. In bright sunlight you can see a hint of metallic pigment, but not enough to give the finish depth. It might as well be gloss house paint.

I've since seen a similar characteristic with Thunder Gray (although the few metallic flakes show up better against the dark background so it has some depth in bright sunlight) and the light blue. I've also seen this lack of metallic pigment in some colors of upscale brands (BMW, Audi, etc.).

Are dull colors a trend/fad (depending on how long they are in favor), or are they caused by some other factor? Such as metallic pigment being in short supply, so colors are being modified to stretch the supply to more cars?
The idea is that it is a close match to duct tape, thus low lever body damage may be addressed without the benefit of an auto-body shop.
 
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