Blue Is So Yesterday: BASF releases Color Report 2021, reporting achromatic hue surge in North America

Ludwigshafen, Germany — BASF released its Color Report 2021 for Automotive OEM Coatings earlier this month, reporting that blue hues are falling from grace in North America.

Once the most popular chromatic hue for automotive coatings in North America, the percentage of blue vehicles in the continental car parc decreased four percent in 2021.

“That would put the preference [for blue] back down to 2017 levels,” wrote BASF.

Red increased one percentage point in North America, from eight percent in 2020 to nine percent in 2021. Red and blue are now tied as the most popular chromatic colours in the eyes of North American buyers.

The coatings company said achromatic colours were the hottest hues of 2021, particularly white, which increased three percentage points in North America, from 29 percent in 2020 to 32 percent in 2021.

Silver and gray, on the other hand, were both down in popularity from 2020, making up six and 10 percent of the North American car parc, respectively.

BASF does suspect a reason for the boom in achromatic hues, however.

“Raw material shortages in 2021 forced automakers to make difficult choices while allocating scarce resources. That seemed to favour the larger, more popular platforms in the midst of the downturn,” wrote the company.

“North America appears to have changed direction more quickly. With demand high and supply trending lower…consumers have quickly shifted to more familiar shades in the achromatic space,” said Paul Czornij, BASF’s head of automotive design for Americas.

Globally, achromatic colours continue to dominate the globe. White vehicles take up 37 percent of the global car parc; black, 17 percent; gray, 15 percent and silver at eight percent.

If you’re looking to stand out, either globally or within North America, it looks like a green-hued vehicle is your best bet, taking up just one percent of the North American parc and two percent globally. A word to the wise, though: be careful what kind of shenanigans come with owning what is essentially a green screen on wheels.


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