Leaving The White Car Trend Behind For A New Colour

There are thousands of colours available to drivers when purchasing or painting their car. From varying tints and hues there is a variety of choices to make your car stand out on the highway.

White is the most popular colour for new car purchases globally, says an annual report by Axalta Coating Systems, a paint producer that supplies the car industry. In North America and Asia-Pacific, it has been No. 1 since 2006, and is a newcomer to Europe and South America for the top spot, having just replaced silver.

But there are signs that tastes may be shifting. In Canada, says a survey by Desrosiers Automotive Consultants of car owners, black and blue will be the top choices for consumers’ next vehicles, with red also showing a strong rise in popularity. Industry experts point to a trend toward vibrant hues; however, they say white will maintain its stranglehold for a few more years.

“When silver became very popular in 2000, it brought all of the other neutral colours with it,” says Nancy Lockhart, colour marketing manager for Axalta. “When I say neutral, I mean white, black and grey. They increased as silver increased; there was much less chroma.

“It can be indicative of the fact that we were much more conservative in what we were buying, the economy dropped a little bit. People were buying things that they thought would have good resale; silver, black, they have good resale.”

Susan Lampinen, group chief designer for colour and materials for Ford, has seen the colour white go from a 23 per cent global take rate in 2012 to a 29 per cent rate in 2013 and 2014. “You see how white had overtaken silver years ago,” Lampinen says. “It really goes back to the technology industry. White was on the original iPod; it really took off around then. And white also infers clean and modern.”

But Lockhart has noticed a rise in colour. “The nice thing is, because we do see silver going down in popularity, that will actually pull the other neutrals with it, just like it brought the neutrals up. So what we think we’ll see – and what we want to see – is that colour is going to come back. This year we named Radiant Red as ‘2015 North American automotive colour of the year’; this was a big deal for us.

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