• Dec 4, 2007
For seven long years, silver has reigned as the overall number one choice worldwide for car color. DuPont reports that those days are over, and the new color of choice is -- gasp -- white/white metallic. That means more people prefer white cars than silver or black cars, with white taking a decisive lead in countries like Mexico and Japan. A study done earlier this year found that 62-percent of cars sold over six months were white. Hmmm.
In North America, white/white pearl covered 19-percent of the overall vehicle market, 26-percent of the truck/SUV market, and tied with black for the luxury market. We don't know where the "luxury" segment begins, but we've never seen a white A8, and we already know who orders the tiny number of white XJ's, so who's ordering all the white S-Classes and 7-Series'? Come on. Show yourselves.

It's spun a number of different ways: white is an "agent of change" that will open the doors to new colors; white is the new trendy color following fashion and furniture trends; and white provides a nice palette for customization. Sure, this is about as subjective as you can get, and we're not totally against white cars -- Aston Martin gave us a pearl metallic Vantage to roll around in, and we didn't mind. But we wouldn't buy a pearl metallic Vantage. And our first request when renting a car is "Don't give us a white one." Ah well. Hit the jump for the full press release, and follow the link for the color charts to see what flake flavor your country is.

[Source: DuPont]

PRESS RELEASE

55th DuPont Report Says White Now Outranks Silver As Top Choice in Some Countries

TROY, Mich., December 4, 2007 - Silver is no longer the undisputed color champion of the automotive world, according to the DuPont 2007 Global Automotive Color Popularity Report.

After seven years in first place, silver ran into tough competition this year with white/white pearl rising to the lead color choice for vehicles in one key region and two countries. In North America, white/white pearl, silver and black/black effect are in a virtual tie for first, with white/white pearl narrowly taking the top spot, according to the report issued by the company's Automotive Systems business. White overcame silver in Japan and is the decisive leader in Mexico, more than doubling the popularity of gray.

DuPont has tracked color statistics for more than 55 years and reports converging trends in color preference. This year, DuPont sees white/white pearl as a trend-shifting color, and anticipates the new black metallic and other color effects will show an increase in popularity over time. Red also continues to gain ground and is ensuring a more vividly colored outlook in nearly all segments.

"Our customers are looking at niche colors and effects, including matte finishes and warm neutrals with effect," said Karen Surcina, color marketing and technology manager – DuPont Automotive Systems. "The rise in popularity of white/white pearl and the long reign of silver suggest that we can expect a more dramatic shift in the top color choice."

"We are not surprised to see a proliferation of white/white pearl in DuPont's report this year," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of Color: Messages and Meanings.

"It follows the global trends in home furnishings, fashion, consumer products and industrial design where we're seeing a return to white as a clarifying agent before change, a color of purity and minimalism," Eiseman said. "White also is considered a fashion statement. The car you drive is a fashion statement, and consumer preferences for white agree. White pearl itself is a combination of many colors, allowing an ability to change, reflecting, in effect, layers of white."

This year's DuPont Global Color Automotive Popularity Report tracks color across vehicle segment and also reports by geographic region -- the only report of its kind to do so. New for 2007, Mexico and Brazil vehicle color popularity data are available independently.

The report remains the industry's authoritative standard for analyzing and predicting vehicle color trends based on consumer choices. While the DuPont study is a benchmark for the automotive industry, its influence reaches beyond the automotive segment to other industries including home furnishings, consumer electronics and fashion.

Global Trends in Color"The growth of white pearl and black effect represents two neutrals with special effects, including metallic and hue shifting finishes," DuPont's Surcina said. "This provides a safe color space for customers with the ability to add a level of customization or flair."

As in the fashion industry, coatings manufacturers present their annual "collections" of colors to automakers in a formal presentation. The theme of this year's DuPont Color Show is "Winning with Color," highlighting the games people play globally, across generations. Among the playfully named colors DuPont is presenting to customers this year are Whitney White, Gwendolyn Gray, Roger Rocket (white with a hint of blue), Remington Red, Giselle Glacier (white), Gaby Goldfish (orange) and Nemo Night (dark blue). "The strength of the neutral palette globally shows that customer preferences are becoming more common around the world," Surcina said.

From a global perspective, overall color popularity is beginning to shift from silver to an increased interest in gray. White/white pearl remain a very important color for trucks and SUVs, based on the high volume of those vehicles. This also is represented in the growth of white/white pearl among luxury buyers and other segments. The popularity of red globally is growing significantly, with an increase of 2 percent overall.

"Red, in particular, is a popular choice with people who want to express a level of individuality with their vehicles," Surcina noted. "We see the growth of vibrant colors -- red and orange -- as an option for those interested in mass customization – the chance to personalize a mass-produced object."

Color Popularity Data by Region and for Selected Countries

* North America – White/white pearl led in popularity with 19 percent of the overall vehicle market and 26 percent of the market for the truck/SUV category. White/white pearl tied in popularity with black for the luxury segment in North America, while silver reigned in intermediate/CUV and compact/sport segments, but declined in popularity in the past year by a combined 5 percent since the 2006 DuPont report.
* Mexico – Mexico also saw white/white pearl in the lead, with 32 percent of the overall market. Gray and red rounded out the top three in Mexico, with 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
* Brazil – In its debut as an independent segment within the report, Brazil shows silver leading in overall color popularity with 34 percent of the market. Black ranks a distant second with 23 percent and gray in third with 15 percent.
* Europe – Black is resoundingly the most popular color, with approximately 25 percent of the market, overtaking silver, and up 1 percent over last year's report. Black is the clear leader in every vehicle segment in Europe, except in the MPV category, where it is in third place. Similar to American tastes, black metallic effects also are gaining ground. A clear commitment to color in grays and more vibrant basic colors, such as blue and red, can be detected.
* Japan – White/white pearl leads overall, with 24 percent, tied with last year's popularity in the market. Silver is a close second with 22 percent, down 5 percent from the 2006 report. Similar to North America, silver leads in the intermediate and compact/sport segments.
* China – The race between silver and black is close -- silver led by just one percentage point. White/white pearl, blue and red round out the top five in that country, followed by gray.
* South Korea – Silver was the leader with 39 percent of the market. White/white pearl represent 25 percent of the market, with black and black effect at 22 percent.

"Reporting color preferences by region and country allows DuPont to better meet its customers' needs for a global color palette in the dynamic automotive marketplace," Surcina said. "This color trend show generates great dialogue with our direct customers and the automotive manufacturers on trends we see and the color palette we are planning for the future."

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.


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  • 47 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I used to buy black exclusively, however, it is way too hard to keep clean and looking good. With clearcoats showing scratches easily, I'd never purchase another black car unless the other colors it's offered in are just bad.

      Which leads me to my next point. We seem to have some pretty odd and trendy colors as the available options these days, while some want to be trendy, most people want to be more conservative, esp if they are buying a vehicle that they "plan" to keep for awhile and will look stupid in 5 years painted some color that is no longer trendy. These brash colors also hurt resale.

      The final determinator is that silver is just so overdone lately, I used to love silver and planned to buy a car in it but with the every-other-car-is-silver trend in the last few years, I changed my mind and got blue this year. It's not as bad as black but still hard to keep clean, meanwhile, my race car is 15 years old and white. It's easy to clean after track days (other then the rubber marks from race rubber chunks kicked up on the front bumper/fenders) and still looks good on it's original paint.

      I may buy another white car next time, unless they become what silver is now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      LOL. When it's the only color on the lot and the dealer does the hard sell the lemming of course will buy white, therefore fulfilling the prophecy that white is the most popular. I had to order and wait for blue on my CX9. Perhaps they should do this study on the colors of cars ordered by customers, not those the stealerships pack their lots with.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I had to travel 4 states to find my white car. There are people out there that like white cars...and dislike blue ones...
      • 7 Years Ago
      The #1 reason white is popular: Apple
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thanks to the iPod, making a lot of cool stuff white nowadays. Or maybe it's because white supposedly contains all the colors in the rainbow, and the consumer just doesn't know which color they should choose from?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The lack of color options on American cars is obnoxious. There are so many more choices in Japan or Europe.

      I want a lime green car, damnit!
        • 7 Years Ago
        I just bought a kiwi green Honda Element. It's pretty bright. ;)
        • 7 Years Ago
        I would agree with you.

        A good selection of blues, reds, or even nice greens are hard to find.

        Almost every car comes in four to six grayscale colors, white, bright, medium and dark silvers, and Black. BORING.

        Black has a lot of drama, but masks details like body lines, like crazy. White and silver show off details, if they are nice, and make cars without details or with bad details, look bland or worse.

        Blues, Reds and even greens show of both details and color, more details lighter, and less details for dark colors, of course. Yellow tends to be either disconcerting (like GM's orange-tinted yellow that I swear looks like municipal utility caution paint) or more primary yellows that tend to be so bright to overpower details.

        An ugly car can be somewhat overcome by a dark color masking those characteristics, but on full display in white or silver. (why I like black on the new 5-series, but not white)

        A bland car can be more dramatic in a rich dark color or black, where white would make it look like a delivery van or a box truck. Some can pull of bold hues for sportiness.

        A truely nicely detailed car (luxury cars, nice sports cars) can be sublime in pearl white or silver, where those details would be lost in black, but black has it's own purpose on cars like that.

        Beige and tan looks good on almost nothing. The only advantage is that the road grime blends in, and the car doesn't look any more dirty than normal. It never looks especially clean, though. That can be said for most earth tone colors.

        Pastels are a fasion statement, and a limited one at that.

        But nice true-hue reds, blues, and a rarer nicely turned green can look very good, attractive, and not mask details like black, or exacerbate them like white, while giving both design and color equal parts of the attractiveness of the car.

        Silver used to be a very technical color, looking like metal itself, and giving things a very clinical and mechanical look, but it has been so over-used that it now seems to me more like just another boring grayscale. Kind of unfortunate.

        Give me a nice, rich, even bold red, or a sublime and sophisticated blue anyday. The sad part is that those are usually very limited in choice, or not offered at all.

        Usually the cars that I look for get one red (usually a dark red), and a blue if they are lucky, and usually even darker than the red, and almost black. Either that or they are washed-out-hue slate or powder blue color, with a lot of grey/silver in it.

        Mazda's Velocity Red mica, Ferrari's Rosso Corsa, and Subaru's World Rally Blue Pearl are IMHO, some of the best examples of the most fun colors around...

        But most fun probably relegates them to quite rare.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have seen a white A8, in fact. I thought it looked surprisingly gorgeous.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I pee'd a nice shade of golden-yellow that looks fine when I flush it, but after work in the parking lot I noticed a lot of Camry's are the same color.

      Too bad I can't flush the Camry's.
      • 7 Years Ago
      personally, I would separate white and pearlescent white.
      two totally different colors.

      best looking Lotus Esprit I ever saw was a last gen pearl white. must have been 10 layers of clearcoat on it.

      cheapest looking car is always a white one with the black rub strips on it and no clear coat.

      layers of clearcoat is the key.
      Earl Scheib doesnt use any. Aston Martin loses count.


      • 7 Years Ago
      DON'T FORGET, WHITE IS THE MOST POPULAR DUE TO ONE FACTOR, IT IS THE CHEAPEST. TAKE A LOOK AT ALL THE COMPANIES THAT USE WORK VEHICLES, MOST OF THEM ARE WHITE. SO, I ASK YOU: IS IT REALLY THE MOST POPULAR CAR BY CHOICE? OR BY CONVENIENCE?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Rafael, I believe you to be correct..worked with a former saleman for an automotive paint manufacturer and those were his words exactly... plain white is the cheapest... he also said red/orange pigments the most expensive.Pittsburg automotive paints I believe...I could be very wrong about that but not about what he told me about cheap white paint...the white pearl/luminescents may be in another price catagory.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Glossy white electronics are cool; glossy white cars are not.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I personally don't like just plain white. I think pearl white or "white diamond" as Cadillac puts it is beautiful.

      But, I still think that dark red or maroon is the best color for a car!
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you are over seventy!
        Otherwise, white is gorgeous, where the shut lines are simple and follow the natural contours of the car. Otherwise, a dark metallic blue is very smart. However, I am with the postee who wants gorgeous chocolate browns , with sensuous interiors to match. I'd buy a dark metallic chocolate (big car) tomorrow - if I was a profligate greedy-guts; otherwise, a white Fiat 500 will do the trick nicely, when they put in the economical 900cc twin late next year. A dark chocolate one of these might be nice too! Mmmmm...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like the colors like I like my women., white!
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