Americans shun colored cars in favor of white and black rides

When it comes to autos, white is the new white.

Automakers in North America offered more white cars than vehicles in any other color during the just-completed 2012 model year, according to the automotive coating division of PPG Industries.

The paint company said 22% of the 2012 cars painted white. That compares to 21% last year. White stole market share from black, which fell to 19% this year from 20% last year. Silver held steady at 20%.

Americans just don’t seem to be into cars with dynamic colors, according to the 2012 model year build data collected by PPG. Red is 9%, blue 7% and green 2%.


But that hasn’t stopped PPG from offering up some interesting colors for consideration by the industry for the 2014 model year and beyond.

PPG is pitching Al Fresco, a silver metallic with fresh green tint; Victoria Grey, a classic gray with an iridescent highlight of gold metal; Opulence, a refined red pearl with intense jewel tone; Glacier, an icy graphite gray with a slight violet blue tone; Sunshine, a bright high-sparkle intense yellow; and Elixir, a metallic mixture of silver and magenta.

When it comes to luxury cars, 33% were painted gray. Red was the most common color for sports cars, at 19%. Orange gets almost no love. It did best in the compact car and light truck segments, but even then tallied just 2%.

Despite their affinity for white, American car buyers aren’t as conservative as their counterparts abroad. In Europe 23% of the cars built during the last model year were white and 21% black. In Asia, 23% were white and another 23% were silver.


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