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PPG data shows white continues to dominate as most popular global vehicle color

  • Manufacturers offer various effects across whites, blacks and grays.
  • Golds, beiges, yellows, oranges and browns grew in popularity.
  • Consumers will have access to “high-depth” colors for 2015 models.
  • PPG introduced 63 new colors for 2017-2018 models.

TROY, Mich., Nov. 18, 2014 – PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG), the world’s leading manufacturer of transportation coatings, today released its annual automotive color popularity data, showing that white continues to be the most popular car color globally based on 2014 automotive build data. (Additional materials regarding PPG’s 2014 automotive color data are available at newsroom.ppg.com/autocolor14.)

According to PPG’s global data, white ranked first (up 3 percent from last year to 28 percent), followed by black (18 percent), and silver and gray tied for third (13 percent each). Silver’s popularity continues to decrease across the globe, dropping seven percent over the last two years.

“Car manufacturers across the world are continually seeking new ways to create a unique appearance for models and vehicle brands. As color selection takes place two or three years in advance of a model year, it is important for auto makers to combine color popularity with global consumer trends,” said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager, color styling, automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) coatings. “Today, automotive manufacturers can choose from a broad array of colors as well as a wide assortment of variations of conservative hues such as white, silver, black and gray, and distinct effects such as micas, glass flakes, fine bright aluminum and hue-shifting pigments.”

Regional trend highlights from the 2014 data include:

  • In North America, white remains most popular (23 percent), followed by black (18 percent), gray (16 percent) and silver (15 percent).
  • In South America, silver and white lead in popularity (32 percent each), followed by black (13 percent), gray (11 percent), red (8 percent) and blue (2 percent).
  • In Europe, white remains most popular (25 percent), followed by black (15 percent) and gray (14 percent), and natural shades such as golds, beiges, yellows, oranges and browns continue to grow in popularity (12 percent).
  • In Asia Pacific markets, white remains most popular (31 percent), followed by black (20 percent) and silver (12 percent).

Across North American vehicle types manufactured in 2014, PPG found that:

  • Ten percent of automobiles were coated in natural hues such as golds, beiges, yellows, oranges and browns. Browns in particular are growing in popularity in midsize and sport utility vehicle (SUV) models.
  • Sports models continue to be the most likely to feature red, blue or green shades. All three colors overtook gray and silver as more popular colors for sports models.
  • Luxury vehicles, 24 percent of which were white in 2014, are most likely to feature effect finishes such as metallic or pearl tri-coat.

Looking to 2015 models, Harrington said PPG believes drivers will continue to see an increase in natural tones such as coppers, oranges and browns. New models also may be influenced by metal tones such as bronze, pewter and rose gold, which have had a significant influence across fashion, jewelry, furniture and industrial design in recent years. In addition, consumers will have access to the same high-definition experience they now readily consume across entertainment platforms, with access to “high-depth” color – a deeper, richer version of color – especially in 2015 models that offer blues, reds and yellows.

PPG Automotive Color Palettes for 2017-2018 Models
In response to continued demand for color innovation in automotive coatings, PPG introduced 63 exterior shades to manufacturers for consideration in styling 2017-2018 model year vehicles. Titled “Elements,” the collection includes four palettes:

  • Good Life captures the harmony between man-made and natural elements, emphasizing a spirit of respect for nature and simplicity, and enabling drivers to discover their best balance with life. The palette includes earth tones, golden yellows, weathered browns and foliage greens.
  • I’m Pulse reflects the movement of consumers to take control of design through their connections via social media and the growing popularity of the “maker” movement. The palette includes bold bright hues, opaque pastels and urban neutrals.
  • Co-Leidoscope reflects the growing global eclecticism that is inclusive of ethnicities and cultures. The palette includes spicy-hot reds, gemstone greens, plum and indigo blues that create a bohemian flair.
  • Introsense represents a new direction in minimalistic styling that blends clean, pared-down designs with a quiet nature. The palette includes pale-washed blues, greens, corals and purples combined with light, nuanced neutrals.

PPG engages a network of more than 25 color experts with a focus on automotive, architectural, aerospace and consumer-products markets. These specialists analyze design trends, consumer preferences and priorities across regional, cultural and global markets to determine factors that will influence future color choices. The new colors and palettes introduced this year for automotive manufacturers reflect developments across these markets and influences.

PPG Industries' vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty materials company. Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and color, PPG helps customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets to enhance more surfaces in more ways than does any other company. Founded in 1883, PPG has global headquarters in Pittsburgh and operates in nearly 70 countries around the world. Reported net sales in 2013 were $15.1 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol:PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com and follow @PPGIndustries on Twitter.
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Mark Silvey
PPG Corporate Communications