Starting with last month's SEMA show in Las Vegas, more flashy colors than ever before will adorn vehicles at auto shows.

So says Barbara Parker, a noted color designer whose favorite exterior auto shade is yellow metallic and who personally oversaw the shading of nine bright-tone GM vehicles displayed at the SEMA show.

Bright yellow is one of the many “wow” colors for the '08 model year, says Parker. She looks for more reds, browns, purples and greens on vehicles of the future, pointing out that splashy shades have become a marketing tool.

Parker contends more vehicle buyers are influenced by colors of utensils and clothing. That accounts for more purple, orange and yellow auto exteriors of late.

“When economic times are soft, flashy colors pick up on cars,” she says. “Grays and silvers have retained their dominance through the good economic periods, but they are losing ground.”

Two-tone vehicles have regained some desirability because of their use on boxy sedans like the BMW Mini Cooper and Chrysler PT Cruiser, says Parker, who has been in the paint industry for 13 years.

Chrome accents also are enjoying a vogue, especially as brighteners for gray and silver cars.

Interiors are again showing the influence of bright exteriors, says Parker, whose first car was a white Ford Mustang with a red interior.

“The time has come to brighten up interiors again,” she says. “The Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky feature matching exteriors and interiors of whatever color. I see that on future sports coupes, including the revived Chevrolet Camaro, due in the 2009-model year.

“You are what you drive, and dazzling colors show off the tastes of the driver like nothing else.”