Top car colours for 2012 revealed

2012-10-11 09:12

DETROIT, USA — If you bought a new vehicle this year, chances are high it was white or silver.

An annual ranking compiled by automotive paint supplier PPG Industries Inc, a US-based company that provides paints to General Motors, BMW and many others, reveals the most popular vehicle colour.

In the report, 22% of cars and trucks built during 2012 have white paint, making it the most popular colour globally. Silver is a close second (20%), followed by black at 19%. Grey and red are the fourth and fifth most popular paint choices.


White paint now ranks as the most popular colour for the second year in a row after overtaking silver in 2011.

The rankings are skewed somewhat by the large number of pickup trucks on the US market. Trucks accounted for 55% of North American production in the first eight months of 2012, according to Ward's, which compiles automotive data.

One in four pickups produced is white because business owners often use them as work trucks and paint logos on them. By comparison, 19% of cars made in the USA are white.

White, which was also popular in the 1980s, is making a comeback thanks in part to Apple's all-white stores and glossy white gadgets, said Jane Harrington, PPG's manager of colour styling for automakers.

Manufacturers are also making more varieties of white, from the flat, bright white on many vans to the cream colour of luxury SUVs.

Silver also rose in popularity in the 2000s and remains popular because it highlights every angle of a car. Harrington said, "Silver looks great on any design."

White and other "safe" colors (silver, grey and black) increased in popularity during the economic downturn, as buyers stopped leasing and bought vehicles they expected to hold on to for much longer, said Michelle Killen, GM's lead colour designer.

Killen said: "Buyers want to purchase a colour they won't grow tired of over an extended period of time."
Color preferences vary by geography. You'll find more red vehicles in the US whereas black and grey are the most popular colour in Europe.


Drivers in Asia choose tan and gold over green and only 7% of vehicles in the region are blue.

PPG, bases its automotive paints on trends it sees in fashion, interior design and other areas.

Harrington noticed a lot of purple being used at a home colour show in Paris, which prompted the creation of a new purple/grey paint for vehicles.

PPG starts showing paints to carmakers three or four years ahead of a model's release. Automakers decide on colours two or three years before a model goes on sale.

Harrington predicts customers will see more browns and oranges over the next two years, especially on luxury cars.

As for the future, PPG is showing 64 future colour options to automakers in October 2012.

What's your favourite car colour? Share your thoughts in our comments section below or email us and we'll publish your story on Wheels24. Don't forget to vote for your favourite car colour in our homepage voting booth.

  • de.stig.9 - 2012-10-11 09:52

    theres no story here

  • dean.mark.williams - 2012-10-11 10:21

    had a black car once. parked in the sun for an hour. mistakenly touched a panel when opening the door. screamed blue murder and had a burn mark on my arm. never again...

      gary.bloom.967 - 2012-10-11 12:01

      also impossible to keep clean. 5 Minutes after a wash and a wax it already looks dirty.

  • jacques.teebs - 2012-10-11 14:12

    I bet you the percentage of black (especially luxury vehicles) is disproportionately high in South Africa. Govt fatcats and the rest of the BBBEE brigade will make sure of that. They're just about the only ones who can afford new cars these days.

  • gregbecker - 2012-10-11 14:26

    Peugeot is using their new "Rose Quartz" colour of their 208 in their adverts which is very cool in sunlight. My wife adores hers......

      dean.mark.williams - 2012-10-12 07:13

      I have a Citroen in the 'Wicked Red' which I guess is the same colour. It's not actually metallic, I found out it's pearlescent.

      gregbecker - 2012-10-12 10:03

      The Rose Quartz has a bit of pink in it. I refer to it as a pinky grey and it is a big hit with the ladies.... I have a 3008 in Pearl white - MY favourite colour!

  • Larry Leefar Moshibe - 2012-10-11 22:32

    My favourite colour is Paradise Blue.

  • Sivuyile Emmanuel Mqikwa - 2012-10-12 21:18

    Just love the new shades of red that are coming out more especially from Ford even though they couldn't get me that colour, had to settle for phantom blue instead.

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