Nancy Lockhart Axalta Global Colour Marketing Manager. Axalta’s 65th Annual Global Automotive 2017 research finds that this year, black is in second place at 16 percent, with grey and silver tied for third place at 11 percent.

By Erin McLaughlin

Clinton Township, Michigan -- January 4, 2017 -- Start stocking up with grey, white and black refinishing paints. Axalta Coating Systems recently released the findings of its 65th annual Global Automotive Color Popularity Report, and has declared that neutrals dominated consumer driver preferences last year.

“Axalta’s annual colour initiatives, which include this popularity report, our annual colour collection and the automotive colour of the year, are beneficial to car manufacturers who are interested in using these insights to innovate,” said Nancy Lockhart Axalta Global Colour Marketing Manager. “In addition, Axalta has more than 150 years of expertise with an international team of designers and scientists solely focused on the fusion of technology and design.”

Published since 1953, Axalta’s annual report is the industry’s longest running. It is compiled and designed by Axalta’s experts from around the globe to provide OEMs relevant insights into consumer preferences.

“With its modern appeal, white continues to be the top seller worldwide,” said Lockhart. “Pearlescent whites gained four percent in popularity this year. Overall, light and bright colours continue to gain strength as light grey and light to medium shades of blue have increased interest in the market."

The report’s research finds black is the second most popular car colour at 16 percent, with grey and silver tied for third place at eleven percent. Axalta notes that car owners often add blue or silver flakes to the grey, in order to “add life” to the colour. Meanwhile, a worldwide trend of sparking pearl colours on luxury vehicles has formed over the course of 2017.

“White is the undisputed number one, but the story does not end there,” said Annie You, Axalta OEM colour designer, China. “Our customers value the subtle trends the report unveils. For instance, buyers in India prefer silver more than any other region at 30 percent. Overall, more white vehicles are produced in China than any other region, of which 47 percent are solid white, and 15 percent pearl white.”

Neutral colours also topped this year’s list, with “gallant grey” being the most popular colour choice. Prior to that, interestingly, consumer tastes were much more bold, with ‘brilliant blue’ being the choice of 2016 and ‘radiant red’ for 2017.

“Automotive colour evolves over time,” says Elke Dirks, Axalta Automotive OEM Colour Designer, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Recently, blue has been trending in various versions, from highly chromatic shades to light metallic colours, and grey has been on the rise as the next competing neutral.”

Axalta’s 2017 Global Automotive Color Popularity Report also researches most popular automotive colours by region…

North America: Blue is gaining popularity, especially in the compact and sport segment has risen six percentage points, totalling 16 percent.

Europe: At 20 percent, grey is more popular in Europe than in any other region.

Africa: Up three percentage points, grey enters double digits at eleven percent.

Asia: White dominates and is the choice for 52 percent of vehicles sold in the region. China has the highest usage of white anywhere at 62 percent. Japan uses more pearlescent white hues at 28 percent.

Russia: The top colour, white, increased from 28 to 32 percent, while silver is up three percentage points.

South America: Grey is the rising star in South America, moving from eight percent to eleven percent.

For more information on Axalta’s 2017 Global Automotive Color Popularity Report, please visit


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