White has ranked as the most popular vehicle color in the world, according to data from PPG Industries. Approximately 21 percent of 2011 model-year cars around the world have been white. Silver and black were tied for second most popular at 20 percent.
In North America, white was first (20 percent), silver was second (19 percent), black was third (18 percent) and gray was fourth (15 percent). Red and blue were tied for fifth (nine percent), naturals such as browns, tans, golds, oranges and yellows were sixth (seven percent), green was seventh (two percent), and other/niche colors were last (one percent).
In Europe, black is the most popular color (26 percent), followed by white (19 percent), silver (16 percent), gray (15 percent), blue (nine percent), red (seven percent), naturals (five percent), green (two percent) and other/niche colors (one percent).
In the Asia/Pacific region, silver (25 percent) is the most popular color, followed by white (23 percent), black (17 percent), gray (eight percent), red (10 percent), blue (seven percent), naturals (seven percent), green (two percent) and other/niche colors (one percent).
At this year’s annual Automotive Color Trend Show, PPG presented its ideas for future vehicle colors titled “Expression”. The show highlighted the influences of insights from PPG’s other color- and coatings-oriented businesses. PPG’s global automotive OEM coatings business works closely with the company’s other businesses to gain insights related to coloring a wide range of products such as cell phones, laptop computers, large appliances, homes, buildings, airplanes, ships and heavy equipment.
“Color is one of the most basic means of human expression,” said Jane Harrington, PPG manager, color styling, automotive coatings. “The palette of colors being developed for the automotive segment is being influenced by culture, nature, fashion, interior design, media, auto shows, color popularity and new pigment technology.”
PPG presented automotive designers with 70 new exterior shades for consideration in their designs of the 2014-2015 model years. These included colors such as Goldeluxe, a silver with an influence of a gold; White Nougat, a soft creamy white with a highlight sparkle; Muddy Waters, a tone of brown with a pearl luster effect; Grape Spritz, a blue fused with a purple highlight; and Pot O’Gold, a light green with a hint of gold.
PPG also recently completed an online study of consumer opinions regarding the importance of coatings and color as they relate to new car purchases. Some key findings of the survey are:
• 48 percent of the automotive consumers who responded said they generally choose products based on color;
• 77 percent of the automotive consumers said exterior color was a factor in their automotive purchase decision;
• Vehicle color is an important factor in the choice of vehicle, according to 30 percent of the automotive consumers;
• The same percentage—about 31 percent—of the automotive consumers said they are willing to pay extra for a vehicle that expresses their personality through color.
• Owners of large luxury cars, sporty cars and large premium SUVs said they are willing to pay the most extra get the color of their choice; and
• 40 percent of the automotive consumers said they would prefer a wider range of color choices.
“Our consumer research has clearly shown that color is critically important to car buyers,” Harrington said. “It’s why we do what we do. But more importantly, it’s why PPG puts so much effort into researching, evaluating and understanding trends as they relate to color.”
In addition to color trend forecasting, PPG is continuing to develop new paint technologies that offer automotive design options to enhance appearance and help automobile manufacturers differentiate their brands.
For example, matte finishes have become increasingly popular at automotive shows. A matte finish eliminates the glossy sheen and light reflections on painted surfaces. It is a low-gloss finish to the vehicle’s paint that does not reflect as much light as a traditional glossy clearcoat finish. The matte effect enhances the lines of the vehicle and gives a satin, or anodized, high-tech look that defines the shape of the vehicle’s body. Matte finishes have become popular on niche vehicles such as premium sedans, sports cars and limited editions, PPG says.