Published On: Tue, Jan 8th, 2013

White reigns in global auto popularity stakes

White reigns in global auto popularity stakes

White reigns in global auto popularity stakes

White/white pearl dominated the global automotive color popularity ranks for the second consecutive year, according to the 2012 DuPont Automotive Color Popularity Report, released recently. Black/black effect moved into second place in the global ranks in 2012, largely due to the increased popularity in the Asia Pacific market as this color has a worldwide perception of high quality and luxury. Silver, meanwhile, fell to third, as its popularity has waned, especially in the critical large automotive markets of Europe and Asia.

The DuPont (Wilmington, DE) report, in its 60th year, is the largest and longest running report of its kind in the automotive industry. It is said to be the only report to include global automotive color popularity rankings and regional trends from 11 leading automotive regions of the world. White/white pearl moved to top the ranks in Europe in 2012, and was in the leading position as the most popular car color in North America (U.S. and Canada), Japan, South Korea, Russia, South Africa and Mexico. Overall, white/white pearl represents 23 percent of the global market according to the report.

Over the past decade, white has held significant rankings in automotive color popularity and is widely seen in other consumer products worldwide. During this timeframe, white’s popularity had been highlighted across all vehicle segments, though historically, it had been most popular among the truck segment. Past advancements in pearlescent whites enabled this color to initially break into the luxury segments.

“Today, white tri-coats are more readily applicable to the global manufacturing base and evoke quality and value among a variety of vehicle segments,” according to Nancy Lockhart, DuPont color marketing manager. “Solid whites have been seen in vanilla shades, stone shades and the current preference of bright whites.”

Black/black effect led among vehicle color popularity in China, but took second place in the global ranks with 21 percent of the world’s share of automotive color. Silver rounded out the top three global color choices, topping the ranks in South America, Brazil and India, but slipped four percentage points to just 18 percent of the overall global automotive market from 22 percent last year.

“Silver peaked during the start of the digital age between 2000 and 2006,” said Lockhart. “We’re seeing more luxury vehicle purchases now that the economy has started to stabilize, and vehicles painted black/black effect are seen as luxury status symbols in several key global markets.” Red (8 percent), gray (14 percent) and brown/beige (6 percent) each gained a percentage point since the 2011 report, while blue (6 percent) maintained equal share from the 2011 rankings.

North America: Color stability

North American vehicle color in 2012 was once again dominated by white/white pearl, with 24 percent market share, putting it in first place for the sixth consecutive year. It also led the compact/sport and truck/SUV segment. Black/black effect was at the top of the intermediate/CUV segment and luxury/luxury SUV segment popularity ranks. It represented 19 percent of the overall market, maintaining second place in vehicle color popularity in North America. Compared to metallic versions, solid blacks are most favored in the truck segment. Metallic blacks brought interest to the market and have been widely used in all segments, especially in luxury/luxury SUV.

For the first time since 1998, silver did not lead in any of the North American vehicle segments, which may be attributed to the increased influence of black and white as status symbols for luxury and quality. However, silver held steady in third place overall with 16 percent market share. Gray rose two percentage points this year with increases in the truck, luxury and intermediate vehicle segments. The top four preferences, white, black, silver, and gray, have represented the majority of popularity the last 10 years.

Red rounded out the top five color choices across each vehicle segment and consequently, overall in the region, with 10 percent of the market. Popularity rankings of red (10 percent), blue (7 percent), brown/beige (5 percent), yellow/gold (2 percent), and green (2 percent) show bright colors are widely noticed on the road but do not make up the majority of consumer preferences.

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