• White is most popular vehicle colour globally, at 35% of all vehicles built in 2015
  • Colour is major factor in vehicle-buying decision for 60% of consumers surveyed
  • Consumer responses indicate significant preference for metallic-effect colour finishes
  • PPG introduces 64 new colours for 2018-2019 models

PPG Industries has released its annual automotive colour popularity data. While research conducted by the company found that nearly 60% of consumers identified colour as a major factor in their vehicle-buying decisions, automakers continue to sell a vast majority of cars (nearly 75%) in conservative colours such as white, black, grey and silver. Additional materials regarding PPG’s 2015 automotive colour data are available here.

According to PPG’s global build data, white was the most popular colour (up 7% from last year to 35%), followed by black (17%) and silver (12%). In Europe, white remains most popular (31%), followed by black (18%), grey (16%), silver (12%) and blue (9%).

In research that PPG conducted among consumers in the U.S. and Europe, three in five respondents (59%) said colour was a major factor in their vehicle-buying decisions. In fact, more than half of respondents said that if the colour they wanted was not available on the lot, they would wait for it to become available before finalizing their purchase instead of purchasing a vehicle in a second-choice colour. PPG’s research also indicated that:

  • Metallic colours are more popular among men, while women show a preference for solid, single-color non-metallic-looking gloss finishes and pearlescent/coloured sparkle effects.
  • Automotive colour and appearance are especially important among style-conscious male consumers ages 18-39, with respondents saying that they want a vehicle to exude an image of success and in many cases would be willing to pay more to own a vehicle that adequately reflects their personality.

“Our research indicates that global car manufacturers have good reason to give their brands and models a unique appearance using colour and effects,” said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager, colour styling, automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coatings. “Colour and styling choices by OEMs must be responsive to these differences among potential buyers. They need to consider everyone from technology-focused millennials to family-focused baby boomers, monitoring sales data and style trends to try to predict two or three years in advance of a model year what colours and effects they will offer.

“With a full spectrum of colours that can range in appearance from bright sparkle to silky pearlescence, carmakers today have an endless variety of options. Because we know selecting the right look for a specific brand is very important to each automotive company, PPG helps our customers develop distinctive colours to enhance their future vehicles,” she added.

Trend highlights from the 2015 data for specific countries include:

  • In France, white is most popular (28%), followed by grey (26%), black (20%) and silver (14%)
  • In Germany, black is most popular (28%), followed by white (27%), grey (17%) and silver (12%)
  • In Italy, white is most popular (39%), followed by grey (18%) and black (12%)
  • In Spain, white is most popular (34%), followed by grey (24%), silver (12%) and black (10%)
  • In the United Kingdom, white is most popular (26%), followed by blue (19%), black (18%), and red and silver (tied with 10% each)

When looking at vehicle types manufactured in 2015 across Europe, PPG found that more than half of all minivans and light trucks manufactured were white (52% and 57% respectively), luxury vehicles were mostly black (39%) or white (27%), and compact and sport models were the most likely to feature red or blue shades.

Looking to 2016 automotive models, Harrington said the PPG forecast predicts drivers will see more vehicles in shades of blue and orange. Reviewing featured models at international auto shows is an important trend-forward focus, she said, noting that the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit highlighted vehicles in “great layered blues” and the International Geneva Motor Show this year introduced important models wearing orange- and copper-influenced finishes.

PPG Automotive Colour Palettes for 2018-2019 Models

In response to continued demand for colour innovation in automotive coatings, PPG introduced 64 exterior shades to manufacturers for consideration in styling 2018-2019 model year vehicles. Titled “AMPLIFY,” the collection includes four colour-trend story palettes:

  • Hyper HD is a colourful and impactful theme that welcomes self-expression, performance and modern technology. The palette includes an extroverted blend of virtual and real-world enhanced colour – a mix of dazzling bright hues with the layered effects of tinted clears and tri-coats.
  • IM perfect is a global trend named as a play on words, celebrating the perfection of imperfections and authenticity in individuals living their best lives and focusing on their uniqueness with an emphasis on wellness. This more organic palette is influenced by nature, with somewhat subdued hues such as foliage greens as well as copper and brass metal tones.
  • Knight’s Watch is a stronghold theme providing sturdy reassurance for safety and security through traditional colours representing refuge and confidence. Like a silent guard, the visual code of this palette communicates strength and protection with dark, dramatic jewel tones and blackened metal shades.
  • Lucid Dreams reflects calmness, sensitivity and privacy, portraying a refuge from technology overload with fluid, graceful design. The palette consists of pastel tones with slightly more colour as interpreted in metallic whites, mint greens, anodized gold/beige tones and sky blues.

PPG engages a global network of more than 20 colour experts with a focus on automotive, architectural, aerospace and consumer-products markets. These specialists analyse design trends, consumer preferences and priorities across regional, cultural and global markets to determine factors that will influence future colour choices. The new colours and palettes introduced this year for automotive manufacturers reflect developments across these markets and influences.