By Mark Kleis
Thursday, Oct 6th, 2011 @ 7:47 am
 
Every year, studies come out detailing the trends of colors for new cars worldwide, but silver's reigning popularity has become a predictable constant.

Alas, the sands of time have taken their toll and the world has decided to shun silver and welcome white as its most favored color for a new vehicle.

Well, that's isn't entirely true, as white vehicles made up 21 percent of all new cars sold for the 2011 model year according to paint supplier PPG, while silver - the former champion - still managed to rack up 20 percent. Silver tied for second place with black, PPG says.

Breaking color preferences down by individual markets reveals unique regional tendencies. In Asia, for example, buyers scooped up 25 percent of their new cars in silver, with white racking up 23 percent, followed by black at 17 percent and red at 10 percent.

Head to Europe and things get a bit gloomy with 26 percent of all new cars being purchased in black, followed by 19 percent in white and 16 percent in silver.

Skip across the pond to arrive in North America and you'll find 20 percent of cars were white, followed by 19 percent in silver and 18 percent in black.

So what do these trends mean? It depends who you ask, but PPG seems to think it means a lot.

"Color is one of the most basic means of human expression," said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager, color styling, automotive coatings. "The palette of colors being developed for the automotive segment is being influenced by culture, nature, fashion, interior design, media, auto shows, color popularity and new pigment technology."

PPG also did some polling of vehicle buyers that yielded some interesting statistics, such as the fact that 77 percent of new car buyers said exterior color was a factor in their decision to purchase the vehicle, while 48 percent of consumers say they choose products in general based on color.

The next statistic is hardly news at automakers who have been charging premiums for certain colors for years, but this latest year 31 percent of consumers said they would be willing to pay extra to get a color that suits them best for their vehicle. Not surprisingly, owners of luxury cars, sports cars and premium SUVs indicated they would be willing to spend the most for special colors.

As for matte finishes, don't expect them to proliferate the new car market any time soon, as paint companies are still looking for ways to make matte finishes as durable as standard clear coat-finished vehicles.