AXALTA – Global Automotive Color Popularity Report

Color Preferences at a Glance

World Colors

  • White increases two percent to hold its reign for the seventh year.
  • At 39 percent, white has grown 10 percent in five years.
  • Following the trend of pearl colors being employed on luxury vehicles, white pearl increased four percent while solid white decreased two percent.
  • Gray and silver hold steady at 11 percent each, but black continues to decline.
  • Blue holds the top spot for the most colorful hue at seven percent.

North America

  • White grew two percent and totals 27 percent holding the top preference for eleven years in a row.
  • The truck segment is growing and showed a six percent increase for white…especially in solid whites
  • The luxury segment saw a five percent increase in white pearl for a total of 29 percent.
  • Blue is gaining popularity, especially in the compact /sport segment where it gained six percent to total 16 percent.

South America

  • Gray is the rising star in South America moving from 8 percent to 11 percent.
  • Red was up four percent this year to nine percent overall.
  • Silver continues to keep second place at 22 percent, but white is far ahead at 41 percent total.
  • Black and gray tie at 11 percent.


  • White remains the top color rising four percent for a total of 32 percent.
  • Beige/brown and silver increase in popularity.


  • At 20 percent, gray is more popular with Europeans than any other region. Gray’s three percent increase was driven by effect colors.
  • For the first time in more than a decade, silver stops its fall and stagnates at 11 percent. Only the Intermediate/ Multi-Purpose Vehicle sector continues to experience a decline.
  • The steady increase in blue underlines, that the tendency toward more chroma will return to European OEMs’ palettes. This year, blue could crack the 10 percent hurdle.


  • Not surprisingly, white stays on top in China and keeps growing up five percent over last year. White pearl grows six percent with mica and other various flake effects including glass and aluminum flake. Solid white drops just one percent.
  • Japan still shows the strongest preference for white pearl at 28 percent up one percent from last year. Colorful versions of blue, red and beige/brown hold steady.
  • South Korea sees increases in blue, beige/brown and gray showing trends toward more colorful versions.
  • Light colors dominate India: white is 32 percent and silver is 30 percent.


  • White rises by two percent with almost half of all vehicles produced (49 percent).
  • In contrast, black and silver lose three percent each but defend their second and third place positions.
  • With a three percent gain, gray bounces up and reaches double-digits for the first time.
  • The region shows a one percent increase in blue and beige/ brown versus a one percent decrease in red and yellow

Related Posts: PPG Global Color Trends / Frankfurt Motorshow Color Trends / Global Exterior Color Popularity

AXALTA Global Automotive Color Popularity Report

Axalta’s 2017 Color Popularity report also found:

  • Worldwide: Building on white’s number one position, a trend has developed of pearl colors sparkling on luxury vehicles. White pearl hues increased four percent in 2017.
  • Africa: Up three percentage points, gray enters double digits at 11 percent.
  • Asia: White dominates and is the choice on 52 percent of vehicles sold in the region. China has the highest usage of white anywhere at 62 percent. Japan uses more pearlescent white hues at 28 percent.
  • Europe: At 20 percent, gray is more popular in Europe than in any other continent.
  • North America: Blue is gaining popularity, especially in the compact/sport segment where it rose six percentage points to total 16 percent.
  • Russia: The top color, white, increased from 28 to 32 percent, while silver is also up three percentage points.
  • South America: Gray is the rising star in South America moving from eight percent to 11 percent.

“With its modern appeal, white continues to be the top seller worldwide,” said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta Global Color Marketing Manager. “Pearlescent whites gained four percent in popularity this year as this multi-coat color is used on all segments and has the highest usage in Japan. Overall, light and bright colors continue to gain strength as light gray and light to medium shades of blue have increased interest in the market.”

Published annually since 1953, Axalta’s report is the automotive industry’s longest running and most comprehensive color account. It is compiled and designed by Axalta’s color experts around the globe to provide OEMs fascinating and relevant insights into consumer preferences to help them make informed color decisions.

“Automotive color evolves over time,” says Elke Dirks, Axalta Automotive OEM Color Designer, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Recently, blue has been trending in various versions from highly chromatic shades to light metallic colors, and gray has been on the rise as the next competing neutral.”

“White is the undisputed number one, but the story does not end there,” said Annie You, Axalta OEM Color Designer, China. “Our customers value the subtle trends the report unveils. For instance, buyers in India prefer silver more than any other region at an amazing 30 percent. Overall, more white vehicles are produced in China than any other region, of which 47 percent are solid white, and 15 percent pearl white.”

“Axalta’s annual color initiatives, which include this Popularity Report, our annual Color Collection and the Automotive Color of the Year are beneficial to car manufacturers who are interested in using these insights to innovate,” said Lockhart. “In addition, Axalta has more than 150 years of expertise with an international team of designers and scientists that are solely focused on the fusion of technology and design.”

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