Certainly, the world's peoples are as different as they come.
For instance, it's not uncommon for Laplanders to savor reindeer and the Japanese to love fish-eye soup. Of course, many New Yorkers might prefer a slice of Famous Ray's pizza as much as a U.S. southerner would grab for grits.
However, as different as people are across the world, according to a recent DuPont survey, we're not so different when it comes to the colors of our vehicles.
World-Wide Auto Color Survey
According to DuPont's Nancy Lockhart, a color marketing manager for vehicle paints, the company's 2009 survey was a first-ever attempt to measure color preferences on a world-wide scale. DuPont Automotive has studied color preference in the United States for more than fifty years.
Dupont's list of North America's most popular colors (Dupont)
DuPont is, of course, a major automotive paint supplier and conducts its annual study to help the auto industry forecast shifts in consumer tastes.
“By gathering and analyzing color popularity data around the globe, DuPont is able to better identify trends and help our customers in the automotive industry develop color palettes for the future,” Lockhart said. “The auto industry is an increasingly global business, so regional and global color data are vitally important to designers.”
Apparently, DuPont color wizards will remain busy coming up with various shades of silver, black, white, and gray. These colors (or non-colors, some might say) stand as the world's favorite shades, although their ranking varies.
For example, white is the most popular color in North America. It has been the US's favorite for years, but its lead over black is steadily shrinking. In 2003, 31-percent of vehicles were white, dropping to 17.8 for 2009. Black, silver, and gray trailed white in North America, but not by much.
Statistics averaged for the rest of the world put silver clearly in the lead, followed by black, white, and gray.
Blue and red scored double-digit percentages in North America. They took spots #5 and #6. These "real" colors occupied the same popularity slots in the world-wide average, but only managed to tally single-digit percentages.
Browns, greens, and yellows/golds rounded out spots #7 through #9. Showing North America's greater acceptance of color, the popularity of these colors ran higher compared to the world-wide average.
As one might expect, there are other regional differences regarding color preferences.
Green is Russia's second most popular automotive color.
India's third most favorite color is red.
What Colors Mean
Many books have studied the meaning of individual colors, so this article cannot thoroughly cover all there is to know on the subject. However, here are some things to think about: As one might expect, the meaning of colors change from culture to culture. These differences help explain why some colors are more popular in China than in France, and vise versa.
There are many cultural-specific examples, but red stands out as one color that clearly means different things depending on one's culture. The Western world tends to view the color red as sporty, bold, and aggressive. The Eastern world tends to associate red with happiness. Therefore, while a red sports car makes sense in Italy, it doesn't make as much sense in China.
Another example is white. White often symbolizes purity in Western cultures, but in some Eastern cultures, it is the preferred color to wear to a wake. Funeral directors take note
Factors like these help drive the popularity of automotive paint colors the world over.
So, here are a few questions for you to answer:
1) What color is your vehicle?