By on October 23, 2013

Aston-Martin One-77

For the third consecutive year, consumers around the world prefer to paint their world in white when they shop for their chariot of choice.

The Detroit Free Press reports that data gathered by Pittsburg, Penn.-based PPG Industries shows the color of snow, clouds and canvas is popular among one in every four car purchasers, continuing a streak that began three years earlier when the shade knocked silver off the top of the mountain after a decade-long dominance. In North America, the color has 21 percent of the color market, while black, gray and silver hold a collective 41 percent.

Of course, so much white can cause one to go snowblind after a time. Thus, consumers in the United States are also looking over various shades of red and blue (unless its a minivan; gold and beige still rule the lot there). Over in Southeast Asia, Chinese and Korean consumers can expect to color their world in sparkling shades of pink, purple, gold, and more traditional colors.

For those who can’t get enough of the No. 1 best color in the world however, PPG’s manager of color styling, Jane Harrington, has some encouraging words to offer:

We see growth in the variety of whites being offered to consumers. There are pearly whites for luster, crisp whites, creamy ones and degrees of sparkle and light.

The coatings manufacturer will unveil their latest creations in November, though most automakers will select up to 20 hues for their color palates; you can bet on at least four to be white, black, gray and silver, as usual.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

73 Comments on “Any Color You Like, As Long As It’s White...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Korean consumers can expect to color their world in sparkling shades of pink, purple, gold, and more traditional colors”

    Elaborate and sparkly colors apply to SMALL cars only. Large cars from midsize on up MUST be black/silver/white, in that order.

    And give me a 2000 740iL, tint the windows medium-dark, and paint it Audi pearl white.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Yep, I was going to say the same thing! Looking out the window of a Korean government building, I mentioned something about the cars being all silver, white, or black. They looked at me like I was crazy to think there could ever be another color available.

      About the only cars with any color to them were the Chevy Sparks that I was seeing all over the place.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I’m done with black, white, silver/gray. More blues, greens, and oranges please.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I saw a really nice dark forest green on a new Cruze last week. Not that I expect to see it on the street often, since it’s an extra cost paint option. On a Chevy! Who do they think they are, Porsche?

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Sounds like racism.. :/

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Pittsburgh”, not “Pittsburg”. Ugh.

    My ’12 Leaf is white, but it’s the only one the dealer had.

    I’ve come to detest silver cars. My beater Elantra is silver, just like a gazillion others. It’s the perfect bank robbery getaway car, except it’s slow.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Wow, my grandparents’ Elantra was silver too!

      And yeah, silver Elantra, white Camcord, white Econoline van…all good getaway cars. Police won’t have much luck finding a specific white Econoline or white Camcord in your average American city.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Come to think of it, the Leaf is the 5th white car I’ve owned, out of 15 total.

    • 0 avatar
      J.Emerson

      Silver ages badly. When the clearcoat starts to go, it looks worse than your typical “non-shiny” color. Same thing with those bronze-y “gold” colors.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        That’s exactly right. I’ve had silver, gold and copper, and after a time you can’t make ‘em shine. Now I have black which I can’t keep clean. White can’t be much different. There must be some pastels that don’t need a wash every three days. Anything but that sickly green on Murilee’s 65 Impala. I had the same color and THAT wouldn’t take a shine after about three years either.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Ack! Except for some of pearl whites with chrome accents, I’m not old enough for a white colored car.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I agree. I had a ’82 Blazer, white and maroon, and I really didn’t like it, but it was equipped the way I wanted, and it was on the lot. We looked a few weeks previously and there were about 6 other colors with the same options, but when we were looking at buying it, getting any bugs out of it, and leaving to move back East, we had ONE choice at 3 dealers, the white and maroon one. Since then, I have avoided white. Only brown is worse, IMHO.

  • avatar

    The only car I ever bought new, my 1993 Saturn, was white. I chose white because it’s the safest color. But while other colors on Saturns which looked great on the showroom floor aged badly, mine looked great ten years on.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Honestly that was probably more due to the fact that the Saturns had them awesome plastic body panels that didn’t fade in the sun rather than the color.

      My first Saturn, a ’97 SL, was white. I remember very clearly the salesguy rolling up his sleeves, shifting his tie over his shoulder, and whaling on the sides of my new car with a Louisville Slugger to prove its durability.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    The color preference figures are bogus until automakers offer a full 6 point spectrum of primary and secondary colors for each model in addition to the standard, substandard black-white-grey-red-blue palette.

    • 0 avatar
      Wodehouse

      Exactly. It’s unadulterated laziness on the auto makers behalf. It is depressing to drive pass dealerships and see seas of dreary-colored vehicles taking up space. It seems that only Jeep Wranglers, Subaru XVs and a handful of itty-bitties are available in interesting shades.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Actually, it’s black, white, grey-poupon, silver, tan, mocha, ecru, and sand. There’s an occasional subdued red, but I’m surprised at the paucity of blues available, considering it was once the all-time favorite.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    For some reason, I could never relate well to white cars. They look like my mom’s old washing machine.

    Black, yes. Silver, sort of.
    But various forms of colored or tinted dark grays have attracted my attention lately.

    Yet, I bemoan an absence of choice for good solid colors: try finding some decent blues or greens or browns in the 2014 Jeep Wrangler selections, for example.

    —————

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I hate silver, but that’s the color of Wifey’s 2002 CR-V.

    Certain cars look great in white, but it has to be white everything, including wheels.

    Black? Phooey! Only on hoses and fan belts and tires.

    I like certain shades of grays and browns and love reds.

    I wish the OEMs would come up with a suitable yellow that actually looks good, and not like a school bus, but at least it’s a color…

    Greens – not so much, but they’re colors.

    Never like blue on anything, but the old Chrysler Teal Blue 20 years ago was rather nice.

    Ashen Gray is a very nice shade of gray, I hate to admit, because I prefer red, but red, either bright or dark just didn’t look good on a 2012 Impala. I looked and checked and double-checked. Ashen gray it had to be, ’cause all other colors, including white, didn’t look as good to me.

    Fact of the matter is, certain cars look good in colors that others don’t, but I do like to see variety and not a sea of white, tan, black and silver and even gray.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  • avatar
    mjz

    The problem is that the dealers only want to stock the highest turning color/option combos on their lots. The dealers look and say white, silver, grey, black, a red and a blue are the high turners on my lot, why do I want to order that new brown shade when it might sit on my lot forever? Therefore it is very hard for a new color trend to take hold.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Also, everyone will realize in a decade or two that brown cars look awful.

      Just like they did the last time.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I must be exceptional, because I’ve always thought brown was a terrible color for a car. Hair? Dog? Dirt? Great, but not on a car! I had a friend whose parents bought beige or brown cars, always. The one I rode in most of the time was a brown Plymouth Satellite wagon. I kind of liked the car, but I remember the first time I saw it, thinking, “They finally buy a new car, and it’s BROWN??”. It was around a long time, well past 10 years and was amazingly rusted when they finally retired it. I have to admit I was shocked to see it’s replacement was a bright red Pontiac wagon, with the awful wood stuff on the sides. It was already falling apart the day they got it, My friend’s dad ignored his mechanic brother’s advice when he told him the floorboards were nearly rusted through and bought it anyway. The rust was only part of it’s problems, the engine spun a bearing about a year after they bought it, and it was gone. It’s replacement was a Ford wagon, the last wagon they had, bile green with already rusting rear quarters.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Soul Red, ’nuff said.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    The first car I have a memory of is my old man’s Plymouth Belvedere GTX, which was Petty Blue in honor of his favorite race driver. I’ve preferred blue as a color ever since, but sometimes the driver buys what the maker sends. Thank you, Nissan, for letting me get it right after all these years.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    Can’t believe no one’s said anything about the car pictured…has anyone actually managed to drive and review the Aston Martin One-77? Or are all the sheiks keeping them under wraps?

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’m a fox, not a sheep. I can’t STAND white, grey or silver cars. They simply vanish on the road in adverse weather conditions and even in the shade on bright, sunny days. Bring back the color wheel. Give us CHOICE!

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I agree. White cars suck! My Altima is white, but that is what my employer seems to like and since it is free, I’m not complaining. But why anybody would select white is beyond me. It shows everything, and it makes me feel that the owner has zero pizzazz..like white home interiors. Sterile and dull.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Interesting. When I worked for a car dealer in 1989, white cars were the norm for our two best selling brands. We had huge inventories of those two brands, and the white ones looked the best on the back lot, where the other colored cars looked positively filthy from sitting unattended in our nasty eastern climate. We have a white pearl coat car now, and it usually looks as clean as any of our other cars. One car is a flatter white, and it can look pretty bad, primarily because it has some plastic-coated protected areas that look like filth even after it’s been washed. The pearl white car was chosen after guards, cinnabar, and bright red cars that attracted revenuer attention. One man’s lack of pizzazz is another’s lack of interest in talking to tax collectors on a regular basis.

  • avatar
    krayzie

    But if you drive for example orange (which I did for 6+ years) it is a magnet for pesky bugs and insects everytime the car is at a standstill. But kids sure love them when they see it at the parking lot! :D

    I just switched to a dark grey car sighhhh!!

  • avatar
    LeeK

    How skewed are these color percentages by fleet sales? Construction companies, local governments, police departments, and the trades sure sure seem to default to white, at least around me.

    In Japan, white is the color of purity and enormously popular with consumers. The Mercedes/Audi/Porsche signature German Racing Silver seems to have overwhelmed the whole luxury car world.

    I wonder what the mix would be if we ordered our cars direct from the manufacturer instead of relying on dealer pre-selected inventory in the most conservative colors possible because they fear customer revulsion if something out of the ordinary was chosen?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      In spite of the dealer hate I and many others here feel, I think they know the safe colors to stock. Some of the more extravagant colors sit on dealer lots a long time, waiting for that right buyer.

  • avatar
    jimble

    Most cars look terrible in white — it exaggerates all the ugly cut lines. Of course I would never own a white car because it would soon turn into a dirty gray car. Much as I dislike the silver color of my Jetta, it does help hide the considerable amount of crud that accumulates from being parked on the street, especially on a block with a commercial laundry on it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I agree with brand new cars in white, since now the bumper usually extends half way up the back into the fender (lookin at you, MKS). On older cars the cut lines weren’t as much of an issue.

      However I will say, after owning two pearl colored cars, it doesn’t show dirt like you’d think. They usually look pretty clean, and don’t get that dingy panel van look to them you’re thinking of (lookin at you, flat white Grand Cherokee.)

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I have a white car and a black one. The white is much easier to keep clean, and doesn’t show dirt as easily as the black one.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        One good thing about white is that it hides amateurish body work the best. But you can see everything inside the panel gaps…

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The solution to that is those silverized plastic door edge guards from PepBoys. A neighbor of mine put them all around the door perimeter and even trimmed the hood and trunk lid of his Olds Cutlass Ciera. It turned out to be a really garish look, but no more panel gaps!

  • avatar
    brettc

    I bought a white Jetta wagon last year. Blue was my second choice. In terms of keeping the car cool, white is a pretty good choice. However, keeping a white wagon clean isn’t easy, especially with perpetual roadwork in the summer (tar) and then there are those orange rail dust flakes that accumulate. It’s nothing that a clay bar or Iron-X can’t fix though. White cars do look nice when clean. Plus the Police don’t seem to have much interest in pulling over white wagons that may be speeding.

    The wife has decided that she’s not a fan of the current Jetta sedan in white, so it looks like it’ll be eye searing red or blue when we buy one shortly. So we’ll have some colour diversity in our driveway and not an appliance white fleet. :)

  • avatar
    skor

    I’m generally not picky about colors. With me it’s not what colors I like, it’s what colors I will not consider. Colors I dislike: Bright red, pee-pee yellow, pastel anything, Home Depot safety orange (burnt orange is OK). I’ll consider just about anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I feel the same way, but the colors are different. I won’t take white, weak yellow (what I call piss yellow, silver/grey, any brown or tan, beige, or green. I want red, the brighter the better, yellow, orange, blues, as long as they aren’t “weak” blues, and black. I love my hemi orange Challenger:

      http://stwot.motortrend.com/files/2013/02/2013-Dodge-Challenger-Hemi-Orange-1024×640.jpg

  • avatar
    SpinnyD

    I don’t know about any of the other manufacturers but here at Toyota white cars get a second coat of paint. If you want a stronger paint job get white on your beige!

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      I hear that Toyota’s standard white does not use a clearcoat. Maybe that has something to do with a second coat. The Moon-Glow white they have on the Prius-C is probably my favorite ‘white’ in the industry.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    My personal preference is : Black, midnight blue, pearl white, dark red.

    I detest silver. 2 out of my 6 cars to date were silver, and I found that they need complimenting trim to make them look good, and most don’t.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I’ve never been a fan of white. 6 months of winter is enough white for me.
    I don’t like black either.
    My truck is two-tone Sterling sliver and ingot silver = dark grey and silver. Dark grey has become extremely popular to the point that it drives me crazy.
    I’d like to see more colour choices return especially when it comes to interiors. Beige is way overdone.
    I’ve seen some nice dark greens and nice brown colours lately.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Give me a nice gray, slate or charcoal any day… Nah, just got my first blue car. I was reluctant at first, but now I really like it. Don’t know why I never had a blue car before, just never thought about it

  • avatar
    doublechili

    The current white trend is just that; a trend. Remember when green was the hot color back in (I think) the early 90s? Black. Silver. It’s cyclical.

    That said, for some strange reason German makes universally look better in white, in my opinion anyway. Red and Black are nice, but for Porsche, BMW, Merc or Audi white would be my color of choice.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am not a big fan of white, but my wife just bought a 2013 CRV in Diamond Pearl White and it is not that bad. The dirt does not show as bad as plain white. I also have a black pickup which looks great when clean but shows every spec of dust. I like silver and beige they hide the dirt and they never go out of style.

  • avatar
    claytori

    For many years I have been on a one man campaign to ban white as a car colour in Canada. Why? They disappear in a snow storm. Given that most people would never think to TURN ON THEIR LIGHTS when it snows, this is a serious problem. You may ask why not black, when these also disappear at night. Well those same “most people” actually do turn on their lights at night, and voila- now you can see them! A secondary issue is how discouraging white cars look when the rust goes to work. Not such a big issue with dark colours. Also, ask any woman how many different shades of white there are. Try matching the paint for touch up. Black is black. Hmm, I think that would make a good song title. My last departed black car had several body panels that I straightened and painted after one of my wife’s parking efforts. Universal black paint matched perfectly.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Gray cars disappear in rain storms down here.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Redav – - -

        Interesting point, this. Visibility.

        The Australian safety folks, in conjunction with those in America, conducted a study to see which few colors were worst in overall visibility.**

        It turned out the opposite: almost all colors had some type of weather, climatic, or lighting condition in which it could be almost invisible, if you weren’t paying attention.

        The four exceptions were (perhaps not surprisingly): blaze orange; construction yellow; Ferrari red (russo corsa); and fluorescent lime green. But how many cars are painted those colors?

        So, I guess this means: drive with your lights on….

        ** Can’t remember reference.

        —————

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Did Australia test that Fluorescent lime green in fog? That color simply vanishes in fog. More than one city in the US tried that on emergency equipment and after about 10 years reverted to the old Fire Engine Red. Might show up as ‘black’ in heavy fog, but it’s more visible than the green.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            They reverted back to “fire engine red” because of improvements in emergency lighting not because it was superior to “lime green” or “dayglo orange”.
            Traditions stick for less than logical reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            In the case of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the city government made a very clear statement that it was BECAUSE the yellow/green vanished in fog that they reverted. This was ten years before LED emergency lighting came available.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    I always thought the biggest downside to white was its tendency to show scrapes and dings more than any other color. A blue, black, or grey car will hide parking lot rash better; every small piece of contrasting paint brushed off on a white car sticks out like a sore thumb. White cars also tend to show stone chips on the front much worse than other cars.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @J.Emerson – You don’t see dings, necessarily. But the distorted reflection gives them away. And white paint shows dings and small dents the least. Black shows them the most. On white paint, I’ll fool the eye by taking the shine off a ding. 1000 grit will do or just a scouring pad. You can clearly see the dull/matte finish if you look directly at it, but it blends in if not. Especially if it’s non metallic/pearl. If it’s just gloss white, sprayed on touch-up can blend in enough.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Purchased 4 new cars with my wife. Creamy white, bright white, pearl white x2. My favorite was the Candy White on my GTI. Looked so nice with those anthracite painted then machined-face 18″ huff wheel, factory aero kit, and the big black grille w/ red accents.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    It’s ironic that the going thing is to make a car look more drab by using matte colors like the old paint primers we used on cars back in the 1970s!

    I wish two-tones would make a comeback. When GM cars were of the “Sheer Look” their 2 color paint jobs were nice. Two-toning would do wonders for Audi’s boring, flat , greyscale sedans.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    There is only one reason I will ever purposely buy white–ok, two.
    * To immediately tell the dealer to re-paint it the color of my choice–no matter WHAT that color is…
    * If it already has colorful highlighting in something other than black or red.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India