2012 Lexus LFA

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: BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE SURFACE.(TM)
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.