An Analysis of Popular Car Colors

According to NHTSA, PPG, edmunds.com and many other related organizations, the color white is currently dominating the automotive market.

Taking the average of PPG and DP data for the year 2012, I created a Gauge set, inspired by the visualizations on Axalta’s 2014 report. It made perfect sense to use gauges for visualizing cars data.

In all four regions, white is indeed the most popular color and black is the close follower. Drivers in the US and Canada, apparently prefer the color red a bit more than others. In Europe, black vehicles number twice as the silver ones.

Black is preferred mostly by luxury car owners. Most say that a darker paintjob is harder to keep clean. It also was the first trend in history of cars. Henry Ford discovered that black is the fastest drying paint. Ford T models, the first mass produced car, were all black.

White is the highly preferred color and it’s even more common in warmer climates like the southern States or the Middle East. Today, it is the most popular choice in almost all markets.

Mercedes-Benz started using the color silver in its early formula cars. Afterwards, it was to become the company’s iconic image. People started showing more interest in getting metallic colors, no wonder. Until mid-2000s, silver paint was king; it has charisma and doesn’t show scratches or dirt as much.

Some argue that, over the years, Apple’s selection of products lead to this preference pattern by the car buyers. As Apple products shifted color, from gray to white, so did cars. Almost every human being knows of the color selections of their products. Furthermore, the ambience of an Apple Store is something people don’t forget easily. While it’s simply a theory, it does make some sense in explaining why all the cars are white now. This color has a stronger image than before and is accepted widely, plus it matches with almost every color combination.

Men and women show a slightly different interest when it comes to color selection. Iseecars.com data shows that; men prefer red, orange and black more, while women like silver and brown better. However, these numbers don’t deviate too much from the median, for both genders.

Statistics indicate that black cars have a higher chance of getting involved in an accident than white cars. This probability increases dramatically, outside the daylight hours. Since insurance companies don’t take the car color into account, it is arguable if safety is affected by this specification at all. More evidence is needed here to make solid conclusions.

While still being a controversial subject, some colors are more prone to theft than others. A study in Netherlands (and another article) indicate that more common a cars color, the more likely it is to get stolen. The idea behind this would be the ease of resale.

So, if your vehicle shines in the weirdest color ever, you may not be able to sell it later. If you opt for a car right-outa-the-showroom and pick a common color, your car is more likely to get stolen. On the other hand, if your car is as dark as a Batmobile, people most probably won’t see you as good in the traffic. Which color would/did/will you pick?