White is still the most popular car colour in Europe, with a share of 29%, followed by black with 19% and grey with 18%, according to a report from BASF‘s coatings division.

The report, BASF European Colour Report For Automotive OEM Coating, says nearly 80% of the automotive colours in 2016 belong to the achromatic colour range. Among the chromatic colours, blue continues to be the most popular colour, with 10%, followed by red and brown. When vehicle segments are compared, small cars are often finished in white or chromatic colours while, for SUVs, grey is predominant.

“Although the distribution of colours in 2016 remained nearly constant, there was an increase in the colour diversity within the colour ranges,” the report says.

The reasons for this are the ongoing development of new colours, as well as the high demand for special effects across the board. Mixing existing colours with different effect particles produces customised pearl or metallic effects. The wide range of possible combinations gives rise to an “extraordinary abundance of colour variations”.

“This wide range of possibilities for car colours also goes hand in hand with the social megatrend toward individualisation. Nowadays, end customers are able to select unique, personalised colours for their cars,” said Stefan Sickert, head of BASF’s project management basecoat. In addition to helping individualise a car, effects also accentuate the body shape and thus highlight the vehicle’s character. Blue is the leading colour, in terms of diversity, with over 100 colour variations. Grey is close behind with some 90 different shades.

BASF’s European colour report supplements facts in the automotive colour trends published annually by the coatings division. While the trend collection presents colour concepts that will shape the automotive future, the colour report is concerned with the present-day market situation and covers the previous year. 

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By GlobalData

In 2016, the coatings division booked global sales of about EUR3.2bn.