By on December 8, 2014

Mercedes-Benz GLA

It’s official: White is the most popular color the world over, while the B&B’s favorite shade is making some inroads into the global palette.

Per PPG, white took the gold with 28 percent among those surveyed, with black taking silver, and silver and gray sharing the bronze on the global podium. Silver is also declining in popularity, falling 7 percent over the past two years.

As far as brown is concerned, the color is growing popular among SUV and mid-size owners in North America, with 10 percent of all vehicles coming in brown or other natural shades such as gold, beige, yellow and orange. Meanwhile, brown and its fellow naturals fell just short of third place on the European podium, which is dominated by white, black and gray, respectively.

Looking forward to 2015, manager of color styling for automotive OEM coatings Jane E. Harrington says natural tones — like brown — will continue their rise in popularity, with more metal tones such as pewter and rose gold turning up on option sheets. Consumers will also experience so-called “high-depth” colors, tones meant to echo those seen on high-definition entertainment platforms.

Finally, if you want to know what shades your ride of choice will be wearing for 2017 and 2018, think weathered browns, urban neutrals, indigo blues and pale-washed purples.

14AutoColorTrendsSummaryInfographic

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63 Comments on “PPG: White Most Popular In 2014, Brown On The Rise...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I still miss deep forest British racing green with camel leather interior, but coppery-brown is nice too

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I feel you.

      http://images.clickedit.co.uk/7236/71722233.JPG

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      People still buy green sports cars…..

      I think they look good in colder, wetter places with more dark green vegetation. IOW, Subaru should sell comparatively lots of them. In California from SF and South, they just look out of place against the burned out surroundings.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      You might miss dark green it but it is by far the least popular color combo for used cars, even worse than gold. Want a good deal on a used car? Find a green one with tan interior.

      • 0 avatar

        We had a 2003 Kia Sorento EX 4WD, in Ivy Green Metallic with the beige leather interior. Oddly enough, it was very sought-after at the time. Also, my second car (1997 Jetta GLX VR6) has a Sequioa Green interior with a beige leather interior.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          “…the time” being 2003… a decade ago? :)

          And I suppose its both regional and dependent on the vehicle. A BRG MG or Triumph with always have appeal to more people, probably a Miata too. But the guys trying to sell dark green Corvettes or Camaros are having a heck of a time.

          Even classic cars, the green-on-green Camaro or Mustang is the best bargain out there.

          • 0 avatar

            I would drive the hell out of a dark-green Corvette, which is why I’m so disappointed that they took dark green off the color palette for the C7. A dark-green Camaro? Not so much…

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Dark green was overproduced during the ’90s and the pendulum swung the other direction, hard.

        But a few dark greens are just starting to reappear in color palettes, with Ford leading the way. The Chevy SS also has a startlingly deep dark green available which would be my choice of color if I bought one.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I like the idea of a green car, but there are so few examples of a green I like. I don’t care for all those greens in the ’90s that were essentially just “dark.” And I don’t like the yellowy bright greens as seen on the Camaro, Spark, & Mazda2.

      I’d like to find a deep, pure emerald green that is bright enough to see at night but not garish in daylight. The closest I can think to the color on a wide-production car is the electric green Mustang in the early 2000s.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Forest Green like the ’66 Galaxie offered, please. I imprinted on that and ain’t never gonna change.

    And olive greens like the FJ Cruiser and Renegade’s “Commando”.

    Moar Greens Please. And Botticelli Blue, of course.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I took a dump this morning that had infinitely better aesthetic properties than the Mercedes vehicle pictured.

    It seems as if the uglier Mercedes vehicles get, the better they sell, in the New Abnormal.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I scoop far too much cat poop to ever want a brown car.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I seem to recall that the Toyota Venza began the brown color trend some years back, and recently Ford F-150s are seen in a darker shade of brown. So too Mercedes, which really look nice.

    I owned a 1972 Nova that was a beautiful shade of brown and have always favored bold earth tones with interiors that complemented the color.

    Personally, my favorite color has always been red, but many years ago when in the USAF I drove a 1964 Chevy Impala which was yellow. You don’t see that color on larger cars anymore, but the Chevy Camaro wears it well.

    Yes, I’d like to have a brown car again. Perhaps a Malibu when I retire, as I won’t need a large car anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      zaxxon25

      Chevy added Autumn Bronze Metallic to the 2015 Malibu & Impala lineup, it’s a very nice looking color in person, more cocoa than brown (and not really bronze at all).

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “Zaxxon” the first more-or-less 3D video game that used perspective. A real cool game, although I only played it once or twice at a pizza parlor arcade at least that many years ago!

        You’re right about the Malibu in shades or brown, I’ve seen a few and really think the color works well. The stop/start system… not so much.

        • 0 avatar
          zaxxon25

          I have a stand-up unit from the arcade days though my wife’s greenhouse supplies have buried it over the past few years.

          The LZ2 and LT3 don’t have the stop-start so there is a way around it, as long as you’re not Turbo-phobic.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I do believe the original Murano and FX were both available in brown metallic, a while before the Venza.

  • avatar
    mags1110

    White most popular because they make the most in that color, brown on the rise because its the newest color on the chart…umm exciting news i guess?…

    I’m gonna go make some toast now, its brown! (‘cuz its whole wheat) which I believe is also on the rise, but white bread is still the most popular choice.

    I’m gonna go pitch this very interesting news to a publisher, look for my article coming next week….

    Does anyone know how to make graphs that could give me a hand?

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      I agree that the manufacturers drive this; no doubt based on what’s cheapest and most durable. When all they offer you are points on the gray-scale, you buy a point on the gray-scale.

      Red is the lowest common denominator whore-pig of color attractants. Can’t get the murdering-raping ape out of homo sapiens so red will always be king of anything off the gray-scale.

      Other colors are offered for a while, like brown, but the take rate doesn’t justify them so it’s back to blood and some particular density of dirt. When in doubt white it out. I do.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I’ve never heard something as simple as car color put in quite those terms. My last car was a nice fire engine red, why? Because it looked good in that color. My current car is blue, why? Again, it just looks good in that color. Nothing quite so primal as you suggest

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          I became interested in the subject when I noticed how heavily both Nazis and Catholics relied on black and red in their design schemes.

          If you want to control droves of dumbsh1ts, you really only need those and a little white, although the Nazis pretty much dispensed with that, too.

          Fear, hatred and lust get us monkeys to sit up and pay attention. Everything else is for delicate aesthetes who never number that many anyway.

          And that’s why we can’t usually get our greens.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Green being the color of money I would think it would be right up there with the other primal motivations

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Green is also the color of what you cough up when you’re waiting to go to the doctor in a little while because you really weren’t going to be the only one who didn’t get the latest booga-booga virus that’s been going around.

            But I still want my greens.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I have yet to excrete anything green, so I’m OK with it

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You’re watching too much V for Vendetta.

      • 0 avatar

        I dislike plain reds and plain burgundies. But bright, metallic reds can come off as really rich and exciting. Two examples are Mazda’s “Soul Red” and GM’s “Crystal Red Tintcoat”.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Cool chart.

    I like me some brown and green hues, you can spare the diesel wagon though.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Very interesting, although I think what bothers me the most is that almost 75% of the cars sold in the US consist of white, black, silver, and gray. No wonder it feels like a sea of plain when I’m driving around. How dissapoiinting.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      The problem with this is that if I want a yellow car, then I’m going to have to special order it, and that is unlikely. What I’m trying to say is that sure white, black and grey are popular because that is what is on the lot. That doesn’t mean people actually prefer those colors.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Sweet! Made my whole day today. Could manual transmissions and wagons be far behind?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I wonder for this survey if pearl gets categorized under neutral, or white. I don’t consider flat white and pearl to be the same at all. One color is for panel vans, the other suitable for luxury cars.

    In South Korea, a white luxury car is unheard of. That is simply not done. Black/grey/silver/occasional navy.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Does the inclusion of Blue at 2% for South America indicate that neither that, nor any other color has higher even that low a take rate anywhere else? The other regional charts all bottom at 10% or so.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Like most connoisseurs of exotica, the B&B only prefers brown until enough of the not so B&B gets in on the act.

    Looks like many are already jumping ship for/back to Green.

    For what it’s worth, the KTM/Racing/Raptor/Molten orange hues that have seen some recent popularity; is a really clever color for simultaneously being bright and in your face, and resisting looking bad and unkempt with the slightest amount of dirt on it. Spiked hair and flatbill connotations notwithstanding.

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    Yesterday, I passsed a Kia dealership, they had TEN Souls in that “Alien Green” color parked across the front! This morning, passing by a Hertz storage lot, there was a vast plain of white/silver/gray Chrysler 300’s and Ford Fusion/Foci, and ONE lone red Toyota! :-)

    • 0 avatar

      Grandma got her 2014 Soul in “Alien II”. Her original preference was the brown color (I think it’s called Mocha), but the nearest one was three-hundred miles away and she wasn’t willing to travel or have it shipped. She then picked out a black one, and I told her it’d be silly to wrap such a cool design in such a boring color. So green it was, and I think she now likes it the best.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Ha! I knew I was ahead of the curve when I order my Jetta in brown metallic four years ago. For all the scatological jokes, I get more compliments on the colour then any other car I’ve had. It suits the Jetta’s conservative lines and is a nice alternative to the endless shared of silver/grey out there.

    I agree with those who miss green, someone should bring it back. I never understood the desire to make the second biggest purchase of your life ( after a home) and order it in the same colour everyone else has.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    The browns today are quite beautiful. Guy next door has a brown Lexus RX (Fire Agate Pearl) and just got a new brown S550 in the Designo Mocha Black which is also a gorgeous color. I think I actually like the Lexus’s brown a little better though, it is a really pretty color. Porsche also has one of the most beautiful browns out there. One of the most gorgeous color combinations I have ever seen though was a 911 with an off-white kind of eggshell paint job with the brown interior and the brown convertible top, ridiculously gorgeous.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    So are they lumping yellow and orange in with the “browns”? And tan and gold too? If so then I added to the brown count with my competition orange Mustang!

    Doesn’t seem right, to me there is a huge difference between yellow or orange and a true brown. Ditto with tan and gold… maybe the same color family but world of difference in look and image.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      So true. I own an orange 350Z and its light years away from yellow, gold or brown! Now I’ve owned a gold (Champagne aka metallic beige) Mustang, a red Civic, a yellow Prelude, a green Eclipse, a green Rodeo and a blue Passat so I’ve done a pretty good job avoiding the boring silver, black and white choices over the years.

      Recently I’ve become a victim to what’s available – my truck is silver and my wife’s Volvo is white. The latter only due to buying used and not having that many choices. I picked silver for my truck because when its dirty it just becomes “nondescript grey” so unlike my Z I don’t have to worry about keeping it spotless. Based on my wife Volvo I’ll never own white again since its impossible to keep clean and doesn’t look impressive even after a good polish despite it being a pearl/cream white and not commercial vehicle/refrigerator white. I owned a black Ranger and will never make that mistake again either… really bad choice in HOT southern Florida, plus black only looks good when super clean when it takes on that mirror like finish.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Our CRV “dog car” is silver and its perfect for that, I can go weeks without washing it and it always looks the same. I have had a ton of black cars in the past, I always swear I won’t get another one but I always found the best deal on black ones. They always looked dirty. We now have a skittles garage… orange Mustang, yellow MR2, and blue Civic.

        I am trying to talk my wife into letting me get a truck for towing and household projects, etc. OK, well mostly because my vehicle dreams of my youth always included a muscle car, a sports car, a jet ski and a pickup, and I am 3/4 of the way there. :) I have seen a lot of trucks done in either matte black plastidip or black bedliner over the entire truck and I think that would be perfect for easy maintenance. And I am in the camp that thinks it looks cool, esp with black rims and brush bars.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So now that browns are becoming popular, they clearly will become uncool.

    So what will be the new manual, wagon, diesel, in _____________ color

    Because if everyone is driving brown, what’s the point?

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Having owned a brown wagon in the southwest, I can tell you brown roasts the interior. You can pair other colors with a lighter color for the roof – theoretically (no manufacturer is going back to two-tone or three-tone car colors) – but brown just doesn’t seem to match up with anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      RE: Two-tone, you can still get that sort of thing, on vehicles like the XC70, FJ-Cruiser, and the Expedition, as well as other assorted King Ranch models.

      Brown matches with black, or lighter brown, or cream.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/photo-3.jpg

  • avatar

    I would have gotten my Jetta SportWagen in brown, but there wasn’t a new brown Jetta SportWagen within 900 miles of my home at the time. I *regret* getting black, because it’s difficult to keep clean. I think silver would worked, and the SportWagen does look clean in that color.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    The flipside of criticizing black/white/silver/gray (BWSG) as boring is that almost anything else could be trendy. And as a general proposition, aren’t “machines” generally made in those colors (see computers, audio receivers, kitchen appliances, etc.). I think most cars just look better in those (non) colors.

    Yeah, British racing green is great for MGs, but back in the early 90s that was the hot car color for a few years and Camrys and everything else were sold in droves in dark green. Except, when it went out of vogue a few years later your green Camry looked even more outdated because everyone knew when you bought it.

    And how about a shout out to that particular shade of burgundy/maroon that somehow always seems to be the “in stock” color on lots.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    I personally prefer the lighter, copper-y shades (BMW bronze, mojave) over the darker tones (MB, Porsche).

    That said, pretty much anything is better than silver.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Brown without diesel, manual and wagon is worth about as much as jelly without peanut butter and bread. It’s not the favorite without all the elements combined.

  • avatar
    phaedrus528

    Volvo S60 looks great in Ember Black–a black/brown with the Beechwood brown leather. Miss Mazdas in Copper Red.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    White is #1 for 3 reasons: fleets, fleets, fleets.

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