Yet again, color study shows that humans are really boring

Yet again, color study shows that humans are really boring

Globally, more than one-third of cars are white, and the biggest global growth is coming from brown, beige, and gray.


Clinton Township, Michigan – Axalta’s 66th annual Global Automotive Color Popularity Report shows white as the global leader in consumer vehicle color choice in 2018. At 38%, white held its top spot with a significant gap ahead of second-place black (18%) and a third-place tie between silver and gray (12%).

Regionally, black and gray saw significant increases in notable areas. Black jumped in China (5%), Asia (3%), South Korea, and Africa (both 2%). Gray gained ground in Africa (3%) and Europe (2%).

"We have witnessed an emerging trend toward warmer shades along with color combinations with black to challenge white's position," said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Global Color marketing manager. "Although neutral spaces are the headliners, there is an indication of a return to color to change the automotive landscape. Blue is most popular outside the neutrals and holding strong at 7% of the market, increases of orange and bronze are popping up and gaining interest."

Regional highlights from the 2018 report include:

  • Asia: Even with a 1% drop, yellow/gold is most popular worldwide in India and China. Blue is being reimagined in Japan as ecological friendly shade. In Korea, black increased 2%.
  • Europe: Europe is experiencing an upward trend of gray with a 2% increase.
  • North America: Brown/beige experienced a 2% year-over-year increase; that is the biggest gain for any region.
  • Russia: The most popular region for brown/beige at 9%, Russia is followed by China at 7%.
  • South America: Red decreased 1% to 8% making this region second only to North America (9%).
  • South Africa: Orange shows an increase from 2017, and 3.6% of all vehicles fall into the others category.

First published in 1953, Axalta's report is the automotive industry's longest running and most comprehensive color account. Compiled and designed by Axalta's global color experts, the report gives automotive OEMs captivating insights into consumer preferences aiding them in making informed decisions on auto colors.

According to Annie You, Axalta OEM Color Designer – China, Axalta customers value the annual report and some of the understated trends it unveils. "In China, white may have peaked in 2017 at 62%," she said. "This year, it is 58%, still well above any other region."

Elke Dirks, Axalta OEM Color Designer – Europe, Middle East, Africa, points out a regional preference for gray. "For the first time in the history of our reporting, gray ranks second in the region making it a major player in the neutrals space," she said.