When it comes to tastes in automobiles, Europeans and Americans tend to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. Small trumps big. Manual over automatic. Car against truck. Black versus white.

That's right, automotive paint supplier PPG says 20% of new cars in North America were white in 2011, while black dominated Europe with 26%. The Asian market preferred the neutrality of silver, which colored 25% of vehicles sold there.

Truth be told, none of the three major global markets embraced any real colors, as white, silver, and black made up the top three in each region. In North America, the order was white-silver-black, Europeans had it black-white-silver, while Asians chose silver-white-black. White took over the top spot globally with, of course, silver and black tied for second. Last year, silver topped PPG's list.

Perhaps the most important detail we found in PPG's press release was this factoid: "40 percent of the automotive consumers said they would prefer a wider range of color choices."

Read the entire release after the jump.
White is favorite color for automobiles, according to PPG data
Company introduces 70 new shades at annual Automotive Color Trend Show

TROY, Mich., Oct. 5, 2011 – White has ranked as the most popular vehicle color in the world according to data from PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG), the world's leading manufacturer of transportation coatings. 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 (9 percent), naturals such as browns, tans, golds, oranges and yellows were sixth (7 percent), green was seventh (2 percent), and other/niche colors were last (1 percent).

In Europe, black is the most popular color (26 percent), followed by white (19 percent), silver (16 percent), gray (15 percent), blue (9 percent), red (7 percent), naturals (5 percent), green (2 percent) and other/niche colors (1 percent).

In the Asia/Pacific region, silver (25 percent) is the most popular color, followed by white (23 percent), black (17 percent), gray (8 percent), red (10 percent), blue (7 percent), naturals (7 percent), green (2 percent) and other/niche colors (1 percent).

At this year's annual Automotive Color Trend Show held at PPG's offices here, the coatings company presented its ideas for future vehicle colors. Titled "Expression," the show highlights 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. As such, the company has unique expertise in color trends.

"Color is one of the most basic means of human expression," said Jane E. 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.
  • 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.

On the forefront of innovation in decorative and protective coatings and environmental application concerns since 1924, PPG helps automakers advance coatings technologies and application processes.

PPG Industries' vision is to continue to be the world's leading coatings and specialty products company. Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and color, PPG helps customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets to enhance more surfaces in more ways than does any other company. Founded in 1883, PPG has global headquarters in Pittsburgh and operates in more than 60 countries around the world. Sales in 2010 were $13.4 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      When so many automakers are only offering white, black, various shades of gray/silver - these numbers are bound to be skewed in this way. Frustrates me when the only color options are no color at all. Used to be a joke about the model T, but now so many "luxury" car companies force you to compromise "any color you like as long as it's gray-scale".
      • 3 Years Ago
      Black is sexy, white is safe and practical, silver is neutral, and true colors are polarizing. That's why black, white and silver are the most popular. Well, that and the color options are usually not the right shade for a lot of people. For me, I really like the idea of a blue or green car, but I can never find a blue or green I think looks good. So by default I prefer black.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You seem to be the first person to recognize that the problem isn't color, but an attractive shade of color. I'm surprised few people get this. For example, green is a tricky color. Get the right shade and it looks great, change the tone just a bit and it looks horrid. Even if I really like green, if the shade offered is wrong, I'd rather have a neutral color than the wrong green.
          • 3 Years Ago
          Green isn't a good colour for a car, humans can distinguish more shades in green than in any other colour...
      • 3 Years Ago
      White vehicles always remind me of government cars and service trucks. Pearl white does not though.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So let me get this straight. Approximately 75 percent of cars on the road globally are grayscale (black, white, silver, or gray).... But 40% of people said they wanted a broader range of options???????
      • 3 Years Ago
      As others have alluded to, a lot of this has to do with dealer selection. We just bought a Ford Escape, and had to order it to get the color (lime squeeze green) my girlfriend wanted. Everything on lot was Silver, Black or white.
        • 3 Years Ago
        A friend of mine wants to buy a new Challenger, but the color choices are keeping him from pulling the trigger. For some reason, Dodge has reduced the color choices from previous years to the point where black looks like it's going to be the only choice he really likes. He would jump on a Hemi Orange one, if they had it, the new "Header Orange" isn't nearly as good, and the other great colors that were offered for the first couple of years are gone. I don't know if it's due to the Japan quake, but the lame colors are keeping people from buying cars!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've owned cars for over 30 years new and old, and I have never owned a white car. I like a little more color in my wheels.
        tinted up
        • 3 Years Ago
        Get a little more color in your wheels then. Go with a white 911 gt3 rs with red wheels.
      Leather Bear
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've grown past the "fashion statement" phase when it comes to car color. Previous rides that were blue, red, green, and yellow all required constant upkeep, and even with frequent washing and waxing they showed signs of paint oxidation or clearcoat breakdown after a few years of SoCal sun. Good ol' refrigerator (non-pearl) white holds up well for years with much less futzing, is easy to match after a fender-bender, and looks plenty sharp on most vehicles when a bit of bling is added (like a nice set of wheels). I also want to be seen when I'm driving; not in the "on the red carpet at the Oscars" sense but in the "don't hit me bro!" sense. The TUV (IIRC) studied car color a visibility a number of years ago, and white was found to be the most visible of the commonly-offered color choices under most road conditions. More visible = more chance of being noticed by that texting soccer mom in the SUV.
      Basil Exposition
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just goes to show how racist Americans are. For shame.
      Randy Perkins
      • 3 Years Ago
      Black, white, silver, black, white,silver.....that's all I see on the roads......with a smattering of blue and red.....what a drag. Boring colors for boring people.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It' s not out favorite color, it is what half of the dealer lots are filled with, it there were more blue red and colored vehicles I'm sure they would sell. Most people do not order from the factory so they are limited to what is available on hand, it also just so happens that this color is usually slightly less expensive.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      White-only cars look like bars of soap with no definition.
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