PHILADELPHIA – Axalta Coating Systems, a global manufacturer of automotive coatings, has published its annual automotive color popularity report for 2013. The report, produced since 1953, is the most comprehensive in the industry as regional automotive market color preferences are continuously tracked. This year’s report includes “Say it with Color!” Axalta’s forecast of four color megatrends for automotive designers around the world.

“Our customers count on our data every year to drive market decisions,” explained David Fischer, Vice President of Axalta’s global OEM business. “Our global team of color specialists relies on our advanced forecasting to formulate the next generation of coating colors. The result is an ever-evolving color palette for automotive designers. As the industry continues to evolve and strives to innovate for customers worldwide, Axalta is committed to partnering with our customers to provide the best possible coatings available.”

2013 World Color Highlights

White strengthened its position as the most popular automotive color among consumers worldwide in 2013, growing in popularity by six percentage points over the prior year. Within the white space, 22 percent of vehicles were solid white and seven percent were pearl white. Black was the second most popular color globally, with 20 percent of sales, but effect black was preferred more than solid black. Silver (at 15 percent) and gray (at 12 percent) waned in popularity, while red held steady at eight percent. Blue and brown/beige spaces each held five percent of the global market. The remaining color choices revealed low popularity for green, orange, purples and others, although there was a small increase in the yellow/gold area.  Overall, neutral colors have been widely popular over the last decade and make up 76 percent of today’s vehicles.

Trends in North America

At 26 percent, white continued to increase in popularity and remained the most popular color choice for the seventh consecutive year in North America. At 20 percent, black also increased in popularity as consumers gravitated toward black effects in the luxury and luxury SUV segments. Silver has continued its slow decline along with gray. The two most popular chromatic colors choices are red at nine percent and blue at seven percent. Consumers in Mexico prefer the lighter neutrals, with white at 32 percent and silver at 18 percent. Black falls to third place among consumers in Mexico at 17 percent. In the Mexican market, other colors fall in line with the overall North American trends.

White Gains Ground in Europe

Among consumers in Europe, the preference for white increased five percent in 2013 to capture 29 percent of new car sales, with solid white being the most popular variant. At 21 percent, black was the second most preferred color among European automotive consumers, but decreased in popularity compared to 2012. Interest in gray and silver waned in 2013, in line with global trends. Blue decreased slightly and red slightly increased to bring both to seven percent levels.

Neutrals Reign in Asia

In Asia, neutrals reached 75 percent of the market, a two percentage point increase over 2012, still short of 2001 levels when neutrals made up 86 percent of the palette. Red was the most popular non-neutral color used on vehicles.

Japan continued to report white as the most popular color for the seventh year in a row, followed by black and silver. Gray’s popularity at seven percent was low compared to other world trends. Blue was the most colorful choice at seven percent of the market.

In China, black continued to remain strong, especially on luxury vehicles. However, interest in white increased in line with its overall global popularity. Blue, green and yellow were low in popularity compared to colorful reds and browns.

In South Korea, white remained the number-one preference at 32 percent of the market.  Silver was a distant second at 18 percent. Gray held third place followed by black, as the lighter color spaces dominated the market.

At 30 percent, silver remained the most popular color in India. White was a close second at 28 percent, as these light colors proved to be popular in the warm climate. Browns/beiges were popular at 10 percent but darker colors like black received little interest, holding only seven percent of the market.

White Eclipses Silver in South America

At 29 percent, white eclipsed silver to take the top spot for the first time since 2001, followed closely by black at 14 percent. Gray and red followed in popularity at nine percent each. Red remained the fifth most popular color since 2002. The prevalence of brown/beige, blue and green colors slightly increased.

Other Countries and Regions Prefer White

In Russia, white held the top color space at 18 percent. In contrast to other countries, green was quite popular in Russia with eight percent of the market. Light color spaces dominated Africa with white, silver and gray at the top. White had a strong lead at 43 percent. Red was the most popular non-neutral colorful preference at six percent, followed by blue at four percent.

For more information on color popularity see our recently released one-of-a kind historical report – Six Decades of Colorful Automotive Moments - that has more than 60 years of color popularity information from four major regions.