Today, we will tell you more about the most popular colors and color trends in the global car industry. Axalta Coating Systems manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of industrial coating systems, including paint for commercial vehicles. Their Global Automotive Color Popularity Report reveals the top three automotive colors on the market.
Henry Ford, the father of the modern car industry, once said: “You can have it (the iconic Ford Model T., ed.d) in any color you like, as long as it is black.”
Back in the early days, color choices were pretty conservative and in most cases down to only one color – black. Decades would pass before the industry and buyers accepted different colors, and designers use them to enhance the aesthetics of their creations.
Today, over 100 years since Mr. Ford suggested his favorite color, we can have our cars in practically any hue we like, from metallic and pearl-effect paints, over matt finishes, and pastel colors. However, even though we have such vast choices and multiple ways to express our individuality, the modern car world is pretty much monochromatic.
White. Simple as that. As it has been for the tenth year straight, actually. Over 38% of all new vehicles sold in 2020 over the whole world is painted in simple white.
The white color rose in popularity in the late 2000s when most manufacturers started promoting it in official photos and literature. At the same time, it became a color of choice if you wanted to follow the trends, and since white is a no-cost option, a kind of default color, it was also more affordable than some metallic or pearl-effect hues. Interestingly, white is equally represented in almost all car classes, from economy hatchbacks to luxury models.
The second place is reserved for black with 19%, followed by gray on the third spot with a 15% market share. Black and gray have always been popular and in some markets they even suppress the white color. Black is kind of default color for luxury cars and big sedans, while gray is neutral and often choose by people who want a uniform look and don’t have any particular color preferences. Silver is also well represented with 9%, followed by blue (7%) and red (5%) worldwide. However, there is a difference between the preferences of buyers regarding the place where they live, and European customers have a different taste from the global average.
As you can guess, the most popular car color in Europe is gray, with 25% of new car registrations being painted in this hue. This is the second time in history that gray is on the top in this part of the world. The solid white is very close with 22% (25% if we count in the pearl white, as well), and black is significantly represented with 21%. This means that almost two-thirds of new car sales in Europe are painted in just three colors.
Interestingly, blue (10%) is more popular than silver (9%), and red is as equally common in Europe as it is in the rest of the world (5%). The less-represented colors like brown/beige, green, yellow, and others are around 1% to 2% each, making them as popular in Europe as they are in the rest of the world.
However, the numbers differ a bit if we compared them through segments of the market. In Europe, the compact and sports car market is dominated by gray, with over 29% of new car registrations in this color. White and black are also popular there with 21% and 16% respectably. Interestingly, blue is well represented with 13%, and according to car industry experts, this is a trending color that will be more prevalent in the future.
At the same time, luxury cars in Europe are predominantly black, with 38% of them being delivered from the factory in Henry Ford’s favorite color. Gray is also popular with 24% and white slightly less than 16% of all new car registrations in this segment. This is understandable since black is the default color for luxury sedans and high-class vehicles, and buyers tend to buy those cars in their typical colors.
The only car segment in Europe where white is most common is the truck/SUV market, with 31% of all cars being in that color. However, it is entirely understandable, and it is like that globally. The white is a no-cost option in this market, and since most of the trucks are bought by companies, they are often branded, painted, or decorated with brand logos and stickers, so white is more a blank sheet of paper than the color choice, in this case. Interestingly, gray is also very popular amongst the truck/SUV buyers with 23%.
There are no real surprises in the intermediate/minivan class in Europe, with gray (27%), white (24%), and black (24%) being the top three colors and dominating the majority of the market. In other parts of the world, white is the most popular color in this segment, but in Europe, most customers choose gray.
The industry’s insiders all agree that white will continue to be the dominant color in the car world for years to come. In Asia, where 48% of new vehicles are white, the general taste is slow to change, although there are some signs that colors like blue and red will be more prevalent in the future. Silver is declining, and it is in single digits all over the world, which marks its demise after years of being the most popular color.
For the past decade, the preferred automotive colors have remained neutral with black, white and grey reigning supreme. As color is a personal preference, it is important to have the right partner who can provide in the vast variety of customers preferences such as colors, models and brands.