Though white remained the most popular car colour based on 2012 automotive build data, paint supplier PPG said overall use of colour is on the rise.

In its annual survey of global colour popularity, white ranked first (22%) followed by silver (20%), black (19%), grey (12%), red (9%), natural (8%), blue (7%), green (2%) and other colours (1%).

In North America, white was first (21%), followed by black (19%), silver and grey (16% each), red (10%), blue (8%), natural (7%) and green (3%).

In Europe, white was also most popular (23%), followed by black (21%), grey (17%), silver (13%), blue, natural and red (7% each), other colours (3%) and green (2%).

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

“Colour 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 PPG’s OEM chief Jane Harrington.

“The palette being developed for the automotive segment continues to be influenced by culture, nature, fashion, interior design, colour popularity and new pigment technology.”

PPG presented 64 new exterior shades to automotive designers for consideration in designs of the 2015-2016 model years. These included colours 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 colour is critically important to car buyers,” Harrington said.

A 2011 survey of automotive consumers by PPG revealed that:

  • 77% of respondents said exterior colour 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 colour of their choice.
  • 45% of respondents said they would prefer a wider range of colour choices.

Harrington noted that metallic flake effects have become increasingly popular. A classic colour 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.