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On the Road, White Flexes its Might

Friday, January 17, 2014

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The automotive coatings industry may be the only place where people see black and white through rose-colored glasses.

Decade after decade, consumers can’t seem to get enough of these basic car colors.

And so it is again. White and black (in that order) are once again the world's two most popular paint colors, according to Axalta Coating Systems' 2013 Color Popularity Report.

Philadelphia, PA-based Axalta (formerly, DuPont Performance Coatings) has produced the annual report since 1953.

automotive color trends
©iStock / 1001nights

Vibrant colors like red and blue take a back seat to black and white, which reign as the most popular car colors, according to Axalta Coating Systems.

"Our global team of color specialists relies on our advanced forecasting to formulate the next generation of coating colors," said David Fischer, VP of Axalta's global OEM business. "The result is an ever-evolving color palette for automotive designers."

Keeping it Basic

White was the most popular automotive color worldwide in 2013, growing by 6 popularity percentage points since 2012, Axalta said. Solid white cars accounted for 22 percent of vehicles, and pearl white covered 7 percent.

Black, primarily "effect" black, took the No. 2 spot with 20 percent of sales.

Overall, neutral hues coat 76 percent of today's vehicles, Axalta reported.

The runners-up were:

  • Silver, 15 percent;
  • Gray, 12 percent;
  • Red, 8 percent;
  • Blue, 5 percent; and
  • Brown/beige, 5 percent.

The least-popular choices included green, orange and purple. Yellow/gold saw a small increase.

The report also breaks down color choices by vehicle type and size, including trucks and luxury vehicles.

By Region

In North America, white has been No. 1 for seven years running and accounted for 26 percent of the popularity points in 2013. Black followed the global trend, capturing 20 percent in North America. Popular chromatic color choices were red and blue.

Axalta 2013 Color Popularity Report
Axalta Coating Systems

"Six Decades of Automotive Color" showcases the most popular car colors of the last 60 years.

Europe was also wild about white, which accounted for 29 percent of new-car sales there in 2013. Black was second, coming in at 21 percent. Blue dipped slightly in favor, while red inched up.

Neutrals ruled in Asia, reaching 75 percent of the market. Red was the most popular non-neutral. Japan favored white, followed by black and silver. In China, black was a popular choice, while colorful reds and browns beat out blue, green and yellow. South Korea favored white, followed by silver; India led with silver, followed  by white.

For the first time since 2001, white even beat out silver in South America, followed by gray and red.

Russia,  too, preferred white, but green fared better there than in any other country.

White had a strong lead at 43 percent in Africa, where silver and gray were also popular.

Six Decades

The report, produced since 1953, has inspired Axalta to roll out "Six Decades of Automotive Color," showcasing the top five most popular colors by model year over the last 60 years.

Axalta Coating Systems in the new name of DuPont Performance Coatings, which was sold for $4.9 billion to The Carlyle Group in February 2013.


Tagged categories: Annual report; Automotive coatings; Axalta; Color; Color trends; DuPont; Trends

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