Caitlin Moran
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Bleh: Car Buyers’ Color Choices Lean Towards Neutral Tones

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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Front End

White is quickly becoming the new black in the automotive industry

A car is the perfect canvas to express who you are as an individual. Bumper stickers, family stick figures, and decals are great ways to show off your personality—but one of the best ways to do so is with your car’s color.


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Well, at least, it should be. According to PPG Industries’ North America color popularity chart, the most popular color in this region is white. Since 2011, this bland color has topped the popularity charts. In 2015 alone, white beat out the stiff competition of black by a 4% margin with 23% of vehicles having a white exterior and 19% having a black one. Gray follow closely behind black with 17%, while silver came in at 15%. Sadly, green didn’t make an appearance in the top five.

So, what does this mean? Are North Americans really just that bland?

Actually, no. We’re not. We’re actually just following a major trend.

The popularity of a white car exterior in the North American market pales (I will not apologize for that pun) in comparison to other markets throughout the world. For instance, in the Asia-Pacific region, white is the color of choice for 44% of vehicles built with a wide margin between white and second-place black at 16%.


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Jane Harrington, manager of color styling for PPG Automotive OEM Coatings in Troy, Michigan, explains the popularity of white: “White is a fashionable, trendy color. It makes a smaller car look larger. It stays clean longer.”

And, when you think about it, the majority of fleet vehicles are white. This could also have a significant influence on the color’s popularity.

It’s possible that the color white won’t stay in the lead for long. Harrington believes auto shows are the perfect indicator of color trends, and it looks like the color blue is making a comeback.

So, the next time you purchase a new car, maybe you should consider blue instead of the traditional white.

News Source: Automotive News (subscription required)

  • Caitlin MoranEditor

    A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Caitlin Moran has somehow found herself settled in Edinburgh, Scotland. When she’s not spending her days trying to remember which side of the road to drive on, Caitlin enjoys getting down and nerdy with English. She continues to combine her love of writing with her love of cars for The News Wheel, while also learning more about the European car market—including the fact that the Seat brand is pronounced “se-at” not “seat” as you might think. See more articles by Caitlin.