White dominates global automotive popularity

If you have a white car parked in the driveway you are not alone. According to data from PPG, the world’s largest supplier of transportation coatings, white continues to be the most popular automotive colour on the planet – a position it has held for the past several years. Indeed, the release of PPG’s latest automotive colour popularity statistics shows that white not only ranked first, it actually increased its share by 3% over last year to a total of 38%.

Based on 2016 automotive build figures from around the globe, this annual automotive colour popularity data makes interesting reading. It reveals that consumers again preferred cars with a neutral colour, with more than 75% of 2016 vehicles leaving the factory in white (38%), black (16%), silver (12%) or grey (10%). Although PPG research found that nearly 60% of U.S. and European consumers identified colour as a major factor in their vehicle-buying decisions, the popularity of blue, green, natural and red colours remained unchanged from last year. Trend highlights include:

  • North America – White (25%) eclipsed black and silver (both 19%), grey (12%) and red and blue (tied at 10%).
  • South America – White (37%) was close to the global popularity level, with silver (29%) a strong second. Black (12%), grey (10%) and red (8%) rounded out the top five.
  • Europe – White (33%) was followed by grey (18%), black (16%), silver (10%), blue (8%) and natural and red (tied at 7%).
  • Asia / Pacific – White (47%) led by a larger margin than in any other region, while black (14%), natural (11%), silver (10%) and red (7%) trailed.

This world-wide vehicle colour trends data is followed very closely by vehicle manufacturers, according to Jane E. Harrington, PPG Manager Colour Styling, Automotive OEM Coatings.

“Although white dominates vehicle colour globally, there is more variety in colour preferences by market and vehicle type. For example, in North America, silver is the leading colour for compact vehicles, while black is preferred for sports cars. Metallic colours are popular with American and European men, while women from those markets prefer pearlescent effects on their cars. These differences underscore the importance of working with our automotive customers to develop distinctive colours and effects that will appeal to a brand’s targeted buyer in a specific market.”

Looking ahead to the 2017-2018 model years, Harrington says PPG is anticipating an increase in blue. “For instance, in our 2016 data, blue increased by 3% on luxury, midsize and compact cars. Also, blue was very noticeable the last three years at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Concept vehicles and new model reveals included the Porsche 911 Targa in Saphirblau in 2014, and the Ford GT Super Car, Mustang, Fusion and Focus in a striking layered blue in 2015. And at the 2016 show, the beautiful Buick Avista concept vehicle captured the EyesOn Design award in an amazing Deep Sapphire Blue. Blue is a very versatile colour for the automotive market, because subtle shifts in hue, chroma and flake appearance of a blue coating can do a lot to enhance a vehicle’s style or distinguish a brand.”

PPG has a global network of more than 20 colour experts who focus on automotive, architectural, aerospace and consumer-products markets. These specialists analyse design trends, consumer preferences and priorities across regional, cultural and global markets to determine factors that will influence future colour choices. The new colours and palettes introduced this year for automotive manufacturers reflect developments across these markets and influences.