Driving Today

White Grabs Top Honors as Car Color of Choice

PPG Industries study reveals that white is the most popular car color throughout the world.

Yes, vanilla remains the most popular ice cream flavor in the world. And now white, the color equivalent of plain vanilla, has grabbed the top spot as the most popular car color in the world. According to data from PPG Industries, the world’s leading manufacturer of transportation coatings, approximately 21 percent of 2011 model-year cars around the world are white. In a bow to Oakland Raiders fans, silver and black were tied at 20 percent for second place.

White also held the top spot in North America, where 20 percent of 2011 cars bore the color. Silver was second in North American popularity (19 percent), black was third (18 percent) and gray was fourth (15 percent). Red and blue were tied for fifth (9 percent) and naturals -- such as browns, tans, golds, oranges and yellows -- were sixth (7 percent). Green was seventh (2 percent) and other niche colors lagged the field at 1 percent.

In contrast to North American tastes, Europeans subscribe to the notion that black is beautiful. It’s the most popular color (26 percent) in Europe, followed by white (19 percent), silver (16 percent) and gray (15 percent). Europeans like blue as much as Americans (9 percent), but they are less enthusiastic about red (7 percent) and naturals (5 percent). Niche colors are seen on just 1 percent of 2011 European cars, and green graces 2 percent.

In the Asia/Pacific region, silver rules. Some 25 percent of 2011 cars in the region are painted silver, while white is the next most popular color at 23 percent. Despite its association with death and the Chicago White Sox, black is the third most popular color in Asia (17 percent). Red (10 percent), gray (8 percent), blue (7 percent), naturals (7 percent), green (2 percent) and other/niche colors (1 percent) round out the field.

“Our consumer research has clearly shown that color is critically important to car buyers,” says Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager of color styling and automotive coatings. “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.”



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