When it came to paint colors on new cars, for ten years, silver was the one hue to rule them all, not just extending its lead through 2009 and 2010 but doing so in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The revolution came in 2011, when white took over as the top color in the States and black claimed the number one spot in Europe, silver maintaining its hold in the Orient.

The annual study by the paint experts at PPG Industries notes how the the colorless hue has made more gains this year, white cars being the number one choice here and in Europe and tied for first place with silver cars in Asia. Black took second place in every market. Here, silver and gray grabbed third place, while our European cousins displayed their taste for 50 shades of metallic: gray took third place on its own, silver in fourth, four points behind. In Asia, "natural," which includes browns, tans, golds, oranges and yellows, was the pigment of choice after white and black.

Further back in the pack, mineral and alloy shades like gold, copper and bronze are getting more buyers, and based on some of the colors being previewed for 2015 and 2016 it looks like our automotive future has more than a chance of sparkle. The PPG press release below has all the trends and the numbers.
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PPG announces annual automotive color popularity, trend data

- White remains No. 1 color globally.
- Metal shades such as gold, bronze and copper increase in popularity.
- Overall use of color is on the rise.
- PPG introduces 64 new colors at annual automotive color trend show.


TROY, Mich., Oct. 10, 2012 – PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG), the world's leading manufacturer of transportation coatings, today released its annual automotive color popularity and trend data. While white retained the leading spot as the most popular car color based on 2012 automotive build data, PPG forecasts that the overall use of color is on the rise.

According to PPG's annual survey of global color popularity, white ranked first (22 percent) and silver was second (20 percent), followed by black (19 percent), gray (12 percent), red (9 percent), natural (8 percent), blue (7 percent), green (2 percent) and other colors (1 percent).

"Color is one of the first characteristics noticed in product design, and it is increasingly being used in everyday items, from cell phones to large appliances, based largely on automotive trends," said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager, color styling, automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) coatings. "The palette being developed for the automotive segment continues to be influenced by culture, nature, fashion, interior design, color popularity and new pigment technology."

During this year's annual Automotive Color Trend Show held at PPG's offices here in late September, the coatings company presented its ideas for future vehicle colors to leading global automobile manufacturers. Titled "Perspective," the 2012 show presents PPG's unique viewpoint and angle on color direction, using insight from all the company's businesses that color items such as laptop computers, homes, buildings, airplanes, ships and heavy equipment.

"PPG's internal network of more than 20 color experts and six color styling laboratories around the world keep our company in the vanguard with color trends," Harrington said. "This global perspective on multiple end-use markets gives PPG unique color expertise that is unmatched in the industry. No coatings company colors more types of surfaces than PPG."

PPG presented 64 new exterior shades to automotive designers for consideration in designs of the 2015-2016 model years. These included colors such as: Al Fresco, a silver metallic with fresh green tint; Victoria Grey, a classic grey with an iridescent highlight of gold metal; Opulence, a refined red pearl with intense jewel tone; Glacier, an icy graphite grey with a slight violet blue tone; Sunshine, a bright high-sparkle intense yellow; and Elixir, a metallic mixture of silver and magenta.

"Our consumer research has clearly shown that color is critically important to car buyers," Harrington said.

A 2011 survey of automotive consumers by PPG revealed that:

77 percent of respondents said exterior color was a factor in their automotive purchase decision.
Owners of large luxury cars, sporty cars and large premium SUVs place the most value on getting the color of their choice.
45 percent of respondents said they would prefer a wider range of color choices.

In addition to color trend forecasting, PPG continues to develop paint technologies that offer automotive design options for enhancing appearance and helping automobile manufacturers differentiate their brands, according to Harrington. "For example, metallic flake effects have become increasingly popular. A classic color such as blue can be updated with a high-sparkle glass flake or a fine bright aluminum to create more of a liquid or silk appearance," she said.

Regional details regarding PPG's 2012 automotive color popularity data:
In North America, white ranks first (21 percent), followed by black (19 percent), silver and gray (16 percent each), red (10 percent), blue (8 percent), natural (7 percent) and green (3 percent).

In Europe, white is also most popular (23 percent), followed by black (21 percent), gray (17 percent), silver (13 percent), blue, natural and red (7 percent each), other colors (3 percent) and green (2 percent).

In the Asia Pacific region, silver and white tied for most popular (23 percent each), followed by black (19 percent), natural (10 percent), red (9 percent), gray (8 percent), blue (7 percent) and green (1 percent).

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 2011 were $14.9 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

Editor's Note: Electronic images of PPG's 2012 color popularity charts and additional information can be obtained by contacting Jeremy Neuhart at 412-434-3046 or neuhart@ppg.com.

Bringing innovation to the surface is a trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      Jim
      • 2 Years Ago
      I saw a brown Subaru Legacy this morning on the way to work and it was stunningly beautiful.
      th0mb0ne
      • 2 Years Ago
      While clearly not showing up in these pools, I feel like actual colors have been making a bit of a comeback lately. I swear I see more reds and blues and greens out there than I did 5 years ago. Myself I made it a point to get a carerra red to counter all the blah neutrals.
      Big Lebowski
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought the plain colors started when they had to switch to water based paints. Colors are coming back and they look better. While I do like the color of some whites and silvers, too many are too neutral. I do have one big gripe about neutral colors. They can be hard to see on overcast days. The right time of day, they just blend in to the road or sky.
      Karfreek
      • 2 Years Ago
      I perfer white vehicles. Why does it seem the dealers near me only ever get Silver, Black and Red in. I cant find white any where. And, if white is so popular how come I can not get a stick shift 2013 Honda Accord in White?
        Gorgenapper
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Karfreek
        Because those were bought before you got there.
        Cheryl
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Karfreek
        Because even Honda knows white is an ugly color on vehicles, unless you're order a delivery van/car, which you want to paint your logo and info on.
      Greg
      • 2 Years Ago
      What, no pics of the copper & bronze cars? Tease.
      S.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I used to prefer colors, but I've taken to liking silvers and whites more and more. One, with some colors it's a never ending fight against swirl marks, scratches, water spots etc that are hidden by white/silver. Two, it's really hot in Vegas and white/silver makes it a little more bearable in the summer.
      CrunchyCookie98
      • 2 Years Ago
      Once again, fleet sales mask the real numbers. As another article reported, the reason white ranks as high as it does (in any year) is because it's the default color for work trucks. Silver is still tops on the retail side.
      Jeremy Pennini
      • 2 Years Ago
      No infographic?
      AZTrafEng
      • 2 Years Ago
      Once again, this self fulfilling prophecy comes back. Dealers buy white and silver because they have seen the studies that show that is what everyone buys. Customer comes in looking for a car and only has the neutral colors to choose from with the options they want. Customer buys white/silver car and becomes another statistic to promote that dealers should sell white/silver cars. I will admit though, the crazy camaro and mustang color schemes out there have really livened up the color palate on the road. But for every colorful one I see 3-4 black/silver/white ones.
      • 2 Years Ago
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        • 2 Years Ago
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      dave and mary
      • 2 Years Ago
      When you take into account the number of vans and other commercial vehicles are almost all in white - it's no wonder.
      TheSTIG
      • 2 Years Ago
      GOod to hear, I love brown hues on cars. The only issue is that these colors ONLY look good on luxury/expensive rides. brown and it's variants look crap on normal vehicles
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