White still top color for vehicles

Share with others:

Print Email Read Later

Blue could be a breakout color for cars in 2014.

But it's going to take a monumental shift in consumers' preferences to overtake white, which remains the top shade for vehicles worldwide for the third consecutive year, according to the annual color trends report compiled by Downtown-based coatings giant PPG Industries.

Blue is emerging as a bold choice for upscale sporty models and some midsize vehicles, said Jane Harrington, manager, color styling, for PPG's automotive original equipment manufacturer coatings business based in Troy, Mich.

At the North American International Auto Show last January in Detroit, Maserati and Bentley both featured bright blue luxury models, she said.

Across all vehicle price ranges, white overtook silver as the most popular color in 2011 after the shiny metal spent a decade at the top of the chart. PPG's data -- based on research by color experts who work with automobile manufacturers to determine what shades of paints the company should produce for new vehicles -- showed that 25 percent of cars built in 2013 were white.

Silver and black tied for second, with each accounting for 18 percent of cars followed by gray at 12 percent; red, 9 percent; natural hues such as brown and orange, 8 percent; and blue, 7 percent.

White appeals to many buyers who believe neutral shades equate to easier resale, thus making it a safe investment. "A car is a large ticket item, and consumers are sometimes conservative when they go to look for a car," Ms. Harrington said.

But all whites aren't plain vanilla, she said.

"There's a lot of variety in white depending on the vehicle style. There's creamy white, or a solid stark white, or white metallic or white pearl. Each one gives [a vehicle] a different look."

For PPG, automobile coatings are a significant segment of the company's global business and total about 50 percent of revenues in its industrial coatings unit.

For the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, sales of all industrial coatings, including automotive, totaled $1.2 billion, up 10 percent from the same period in 2012. Earnings for the segment were $181 million, up 18 percent over a year ago.

Cindy Niekamp, senior vice president, automotive coatings, said the business benefited from robust car sales as the global economy improves. She said she is optimistic about supplying coatings to automakers in all regions, especially in Asia where PPG's customers are planning to invest in facilities in China.

Most popular colors for cars worldwide

White .............. 25 percent

Silver .............. 18 percent

Black .............. 18 percent

Gray ................ 12 percent

Red ................... 9 percent

Natural hues ..... 8 percent

Blue .................. 7 percent

Green ............... 2 percent

Other ................ 1 percent

Source: PPG Industries

Joyce Gannon: jgannon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1580.

Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse


Create a free PG account.
Already have an account?