White has been the top automotive color worldwide since 2011.
This year, silver dropped out of the top three colors in the world and 10% popularity represents the lowest level that color has had in more than a decade.
The survey also showed that gray is gaining popularity in all regions of the world. Still, these top four colors – white, black, gray, silver – continue to dominate the automobile population, representing 80% of the market share globally.
"After more than 65 years studying consumer preferences on automotive colors, we are truly the world leader in identifying trends and helping our customers deliver great cars in the best assortment of the most popular colors," said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta global product manager - color.
Regionally, automotive color preference has changed little in the past year, with one significant change. White declined by 1% in Europe and gray increased 2%, which gave gray the top spot in Europe for the first time.
"After the demand for Gray rose in the SUV sector last year in Europe, we saw 5% growth this year in the compact/sport sector," said Elke Dirks, color designer - EMEA. "For the first time in Europe, the variety of natural to refined and sophisticated gray surpassed White as the long-time favorite. Europeans have expressed their desire to use gray to quieten the emotional noise in their lives and feel comforted by its presence."
Elsewhere, white continues to lead the market, with Asia recording a 1% increase in its popularity and having the widest popularity spread at 49%.
"China buyer preferences favor modern, sophisticated, and clean, making White an obvious choice," said Annie You, color designer - China.
North and South America continue to position White as the top color but also have seen an increasing interest in gray vehicles.
"While the top four neutral colors – white, black, gray, and silver – continue to lead preferences globally," Lockhart said, "we are starting to see other colors make moves in popularity that might not have been thinkable in past years. For sure, the consumer is truly beginning to change the way they view their vehicle's color, and Axalta is prepared to partner with our automotive customers to meet those needs."
Various shades from greenish-blues inspired by the ocean to navy blue, icy blue, and denim blue are also being found worldwide. Red is most popular in North America at 9%, and brown/beige versions reign in Russia at 12% popularity.
"Colorful shades on vehicles are quickly noticed on today's roads as blue, red, and brown/beige are showcased in spectacular hues," Lockhart said. "Blue is most popular in North America and Europe with 10% of vehicles. So, finding a blue to meet your taste is no problem."
Axalta's full Automotive Color Popularity Report can be accessed here.
Regional highlights from the 2019 report include:
- Africa - Light colors such as silver and white remain high at 58% combined;
- Asia - Pearl white colors are most popular in this region and continue to gain status;
- Europe - Gray is the most popular color, surpassing white, the long-time favorite;
- North America - Blue is up 2%, totaling 10% of vehicles;
- Russia - 12% are warm shades of beige/brown, more than any other region;
- South America - Changing 1%, this is the only region where silver increased.