BASF’s Color Report 2022 for Automotive OEM Coatings shows that white, black, grey, and silver continue to dominate the non-commercial vehicle market, though the automotive “colour rainbow” is expanding to allow yellow, orange, green, and violet to take market share.
Despite the shift, achromatic colours – white, black, silver, and grey – followed a familiar pattern, coating the majority of the non-commercial vehicles produced in 2022.
“As it has been for several years, the report shows white is still the most popular car colour around the world for its classic, timeless beauty, and high resale value,” said BASF.
“If buyers didn’t choose achromatic colours, they often went for blue or red. While those two colour spaces are still very popular, other chromatic colours like yellow, orange, green, and violet are all gaining market share in most regions of the world. This shows that BASF’s customers – the automakers – are embracing a wider range of diversity and breadth of colour than before.”
The data cited throughout the report also shows that vehicle manufacturers produced more vehicles as they bounced back from the effects of the global pandemic and regional supply chain challenges.
White was the most popular colour in Asia Pacific, but BASF says the real focus this year is an increase in grey shades, hinting at a new era in the automotive industry, and the changing values and habits of car buyers.
“While the total numbers aren’t huge, brown, green, and violet are all consistent in colour popularity,” the report said. “It will be a long time before they challenge white for the most popular, but for now, they add to the tremendous diversity of colour in Asia Pacific. That’s especially true among small vehicles and NEVs, which are selling in a wider range of colours.”
Grey gained about six percentage points in popularity, taking market share from blue, red, gold, and brown.
“Grey is more attractive and popular than ever,” said Chiharu Matsuhara, Head Of Design Asia Pacific. “Users never give up pursuing uniqueness and individuality in achromatic colours. Some grey shades with blue or violet undertones are working their way into the market, with solid-like effects, and also added colour pearl effects, showing great diversity in the colour space.”
Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) showed gains for its two most popular colours – white and black – and losses in market share for grey and silver. At the same time, BASF says the region became much more colourful.
Blue still has a commanding lead among chromatic colours in EMEA, but blue and red lost market share. Orange started appearing in car buyers’ preferences, and yellow, brown, and green all gained a few percentage points.
“White and black increased this year, but the bigger story is diversity in the chromatic colours,” said Mark Gutjahr, Head of Automotive Color Design EMEA. “When you add the market share of yellow, orange, brown, and green, you can see more hues and diversity, reflecting a more nuanced colour palette and a depth and breadth of colour that has developed in the last year or two.”
North American car buyers have fewer choices for chromatic colours, but the report says that doesn’t mean they’re choosing fewer chromatic cars, trucks, or SUVs. Blue and red are still dominant, but the region is more colourful than before as green, yellow, violet, and beige show up more often.
Blue is still on top, and the gap between it and red is widening. Achromatic colours like black, grey, and silver lost some market share, especially in larger vehicles. The report says that allowed earthy tones like beige, brown, and green to increase, and violet to gain market share as car buyers’ tastes change.
“If you look at the heavy hitters among the chromatic colours, blue and red are on top,” said Liz Hoffman, Head Of Design The Americas. “But with people turning more to nature, natural colours like green, yellow, violet, and beige are making their mark. Car buyers are also looking for a vehicle colour that conveys their positivity.”
According to the report, historically, South American car buyers have chosen more traditional, less ‘flashy’ colours. Like other regions, white is by far the favourite, and grey beats black in market share for the achromatic colours.
For chromatic colours, red and blue were stable, while brown gained some market share. Those colours were most likely chosen for smaller vehicles. Larger cars and SUVs had the highest share of achromatic colours, including new and varied effects for grey featured on larger cars.
“South America is still a conservative region,” said Marcos Fernandes, Director Regional Business Management, Automotive Coatings South America. “Buying a vehicle in SA means you may not have the same variety of colours, but within each colour space there are some really exciting and different effects.”
The BASF Color Report for Automotive OEM Coatings is a data analysis from BASF’s Coatings division based on global automotive production and paint application to non-commercial vehicles in 2022.