Yet even as those and other new light vehicular offerings get trotted out by various global automotive OEMs, there is a very basic question that will be asked by all of them internally: what color will buyers want when they decide to purchase new wheels?
Now, every vehicle buyer – be they a soccer mom looking for a new minivan or a rough-and-ready owner-operator aiming to purchase a new big rig – no doubt favors a particular color for their soon-to-be new ride, but Axalta Coating Systems takes this to a whole new level with its annual automotive color report; a survey this global manufacturer of automotive coatings has conducted for over 60 years now.
So here are some interesting findings from Axalta’s annual color review – and even though this report is focused on light vehicles, I’m sure a lot of the “trends” the company discerns certainly influence Class 8 buyers as well:
- Globally, white strengthened its position as the most popular automotive color among consumers worldwide in 2013, growing in popularity by six percentage points over the prior year.
- Within the “white” space, Axalta found that 22% of light vehicles were solid white and 7% were pearl white.
- Black was the second most popular color globally, with 20% of sales, but “effect black” was preferred more than “solid black.’
- Silver at 15% and gray at 12% waned in popularity, while red held steady at 8%.
- Blue and brown/beige spaces each held 5% of the global market.
- The remaining color choices revealed low popularity for green, orange, purples and other spaces, although there was a small increase in the yellow/gold area.
- Overall, neutral colors have been widely popular over the last decade and make up 76% of today’s vehicles.
Now here’s a look at some of the color preferences for North American light vehicle buyers:
- At 26%, white continued to increase in popularity and remained the most popular color choice for the seventh consecutive year.
- At 20%, black also increased in popularity as consumers gravitated toward black effects in the luxury and luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) segments.
- Silver has continued its slow decline along with gray.
- The two most popular “chromatic” colors choices are red at 9% and blue at 7%.
- Mexico prefers the lighter neutrals with white at 32% and silver at 18%.
- Black falls third at 17% in Mexico.
- Other colors in Mexico fall in line with the overall North American trends.
Interestingly, in Europe, preference for white increased 5% in 2013 to capture 29% of new car sales with solid white being the most popular variant, while black at 21% remained the second most preferred color though decreasing in popularity compared to 2012.
By contrast, silver remained the most popular color in India at 30% while white is a close second at 28 %percent, as these light colors proved to be popular in the warm climate, Axalta found. Yet in South America, white at 29% market share eclipsed silver to take the top spot for the first time since 2001, followed closely by black at 14%.
Then there’s Russia, where though white held the top color space at 18%, green turned out to be quite popular with 8% market share.
It’ll be interesting one day to see whether the preferred colors of big rigs aligns with those of the light vehicle market or not. But that’s a study ofr another day methinks.