Black is favourite vehicle colour for Europe, according to PPG data

Company introduces 70 new shades at annual Automotive Colour Trend Show

ROLLE, Switzerland, Oct. 24, 2011 – Black has ranked as the most popular vehicle colour in Europe and white has ranked as the most popular vehicle colour in the world according to data from PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG), the world’s leading manufacturer of transportation coatings.

In Europe, black is the most popular colour (26 percent), followed by white (19 percent), silver (16 percent), gray (15 percent), blue (9 percent), red (7 percent), naturals (5 percent), green (2 percent) and other/niche colours (1 percent). Globally, approximately 21 percent of 2011 model-year cars around the world have been white, and silver and black tied for second most popular at 20 percent.

“We are seeing a continuing trend for white moving to special-effect white colours in future automotive palettes,” said Reiner Mueller-Koerber, PPG colour styling manager, Europe. “Tones of brown that started in the premium individual segments are now cascading down to smaller models. New violets and gold tones will influence and appear in new model and colour programs.”

In North America, white was first (20 percent), followed by silver (19 percent), black (18 percent) and gray (15 percent). Red and blue were tied for fifth (9 percent), followed by naturals such as browns, tans, golds, oranges and yellows (7 percent), green (2 percent), and other/niche colours (1 percent).

In the Asia/Pacific region, silver is the most popular colour (25 percent), followed by white (23 percent), black (17 percent), gray (8 percent), red (10 percent), blue (7 percent), naturals (7 percent), green (2 percent) and other/niche colours (1 percent).

At this year’s annual Automotive Colour Trend Show, PPG presented its ideas for future vehicle colours. Titled “Expression,” the show highlights the influences of insights from PPG’s other colour- and coatings-oriented businesses. PPG’s global automotive OEM coatings business works closely with the company’s other businesses to gain insights related to colouring a range of projects such as cell phones, laptop computers, large appliances, homes, buildings, airplanes, ships and heavy equipment. As such, the company has unique expertise in colour trends.

“Colour is one of the most basic means of human expression,” said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager, colour styling, automotive coatings, based at the company’s Automotive Technology Center in Troy, Mich., USA. “The palette of colours being developed for the automotive segment is being influenced by culture, nature, fashion, interior design, media, auto shows, colour popularity and new pigment technology.”

PPG presented automotive designers with 70 new exterior shades for consideration in their designs of the 2014-2015 model years. These included colours such as Goldeluxe, a silver with an influence of a gold; White Nougat, a soft creamy white with a highlight sparkle; Muddy Waters, a tone of brown with a pearl lustre effect; Grape Spritz, a blue fused with a purple highlight; and Pot O’Gold, a light green with a hint of gold.

PPG also recently completed an online study of consumer opinions regarding the importance of coatings and colour as they relate to new car purchases. Some key findings of the survey are:

  • 48 percent of the automotive consumers who responded said they generally choose products based on colour.
  • 77 percent of the automotive consumers said exterior colour was a factor in their automotive purchase decision.
  • Vehicle colour is an important factor in the choice of vehicle, according to 30 percent of the automotive consumers.
  • The same percentage – about 31 percent – of the automotive consumers said they are willing to pay extra for a vehicle that expresses their personality through colour.
  • Owners of large luxury cars, sporty cars and large premium SUVs said they are willing to pay the most extra get the colour of their choice.
  • 40 percent of the automotive consumers said they would prefer a wider range of colour choices.

“Our consumer research has clearly shown that colour is critically important to car buyers,” Harrington said. “It’s why we do what we do. But more importantly, it’s why PPG puts so much effort into researching, evaluating and understanding trends as they relate to colour.”

In addition to colour trend forecasting, PPG is continuing to develop new paint technologies that offer automotive design options to enhance appearance and help automobile manufacturers differentiate their brands.

For example, matte finishes have become increasingly popular at automotive shows. A matte finish eliminates the glossy sheen and light reflections on painted surfaces. It is a low-gloss finish to the vehicle’s paint that does not reflect as much light as a traditional glossy clearcoat finish. The matte effect enhances the lines of the vehicle and gives a satin, or anodized, high-tech look that defines the shape of the vehicle’s body. Matte finishes have become popular on niche vehicles such as premium sedans, sports cars and limited editions.

On the forefront of innovation in decorative and protective coatings and environmental application concerns since 1924, PPG helps automakers advance coatings technologies and application processes.

PPG Industries' vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and colour, 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 more than 60 countries around the world. Sales in 2010 were $13.4 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol:PPG). For more information, visit

Editor’s Note: For electronic images of PPG’s 2011 colour popularity charts, photos and additional information, contact Ken Armistead at +44 (1295) 724-569 or

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Ken Armistead
PPG Europe
+44 (1295) 724-569