White Continues To Be The Most Popular Car Color

Blue and red are making a comeback

The most popular car color in the world is, for another year in a row, not really a color: One in four of all new cars sold around the world are white, according to PPG Industries, the world's largest supplier of automotive paint.

This is the third year in a row that white has led the market, growing three percent in 2013.

Color trends in automotive design are closely linked to cultural design overall. Green, now the least popular car color across all regions, was quite popular in the 1990s. Although white has dominated for the past three years, silver reigned supreme for more than a decade.

Tied for second is silver and black at 19 percent, followed by gray at 12 percent and red at nine percent. With 33 percent of cars sold in South America in silver, it's the only region where silver continues to lead the market.

Jane Harrington, PPG's color styling manager, says the shift towards white is part of an evolving overall perception of the hue.

"Silver was once the color of cutting-edge technology," Harrington said. "Perhaps thanks to the popularity of Apple products we've seen and increase in consumer's preference for white."

Every year, PPG Industries develops new palettes to be featured on models three or four years down the line. The company introduced 60 new colors this year, which consumers will see on 2016 and 2017 models. Developed in markets around the world, certain shades of similar colors may vary from region to region. Two teal-green colors developed in South Korea and Europe for example, have different tones: A brighter, almost mint color for Asian markets verses a more muted green developed in Europe.

Colors created by PPG are inspired by contemporary culture. This year's color offerings feature a wider range of hues compared to years past, with more flashy colors making a comeback in a post-recession world. Bright, quirky colors inspired by the do-it-yourself craft movement and earthy browns and oranges will also show up more frequently on cars. Green will start showing up again, this time on European SUVs.

2014 models, Harrington said, will feature a lot more options in blue and red tones. PPG's data has shown increases in the popularity of blue for certain regions and vehicle types, such as an increase in North America this year and more than double the popularity in sport models there between 2011 and 2013.

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