By on January 29, 2021

color

Car color preferences differ by nation or regions of the world, as we found in comparing our previous post on Axalta’s study, and BASF’s Color Report 2020, issued in the UK.

color

BASF’s Color Report 2020 for automotive OEM coatings indicates there are more colorful cars being produced, as evidenced in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), particularly as it relates to smaller SUVs and their growth in the market. Still, achromatic colors are dominant, with white being number one.

color

The United Kingdom being a part of Europe when they so choose, we wondered if it held true across the board, or if it was somehow different, as the UK practices its Brexit from the European Union. It turns out that in the UK, grey is the most popular color at 26 percent of the total. The color report indicates that 79 percent of UK-produced vehicles are achromatic, three points higher than its share in the EMEA.

Jaguar F-TYPE Heritage 60 Edition

Among the chromatic segment, blue is tops at eight percent of the UK total, with red in second at seven percent, with green and orange following closely. Green, and not just the British Racing Green tone most commonly referenced, is three times more popular on cars in the UK than in EMEA.

Mark Gutjahr, automotive color design head, BASF EMEA said, “Green is considered the classic racing color of Great Britain, and we can see this reference in a much higher production rate within the region. The export markets connected to UK brands enjoy this color, as it has been an essential for decades in the line-up of all manufacturers.”

color

Scott Robinson, BASF UK account manager, coatings division said, “Other color trends we are seeing within the automotive market are a desire for two-tone exterior styling and personalization. While gray, white, black and silver continue to dominate, there is an appetite for an individual look.”

BASF’s color report for automotive OEMs is data derived and analyzed from BASF’s coatings division, based on 2020 global automotive production and paint application to light-duty vehicles. Whether we’re talking color here, or colour there, the variations are interesting.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

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47 Comments on “A Difference in Color or Colour?...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I wonder how often buyers choose the color that was presented at the car’s unveiling, or in its glamour photos.

    These colors are *always* bundled with the higher – and better-looking – trim packages that print money for the mfr.

    You get the cold shower while using their online configurator, when you discover that nice blue color costs another 20% in upgrades for the turbo 7-cylinder, 12-speed transmission with electric lug nuts.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      $1000 for tri-coat pearl white and $500 for tri-coat crimson pearl.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Lexus is terrible about this.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        GM is too. Crystal red cost me an extra $1K, yet on other cars – with much more paintable area – the cost was half that.

        As for colors, just go with Pink Floyd “Any colour you like”. Except that unless you order your car, you will be looking at a sea of grey, silver, and white. Ugh.

      • 0 avatar
        DungBeetle62

        On a positive note there, when the Mrs. was buying her latest CPO ES, it came down to blue vs. “Autumn Shimmer”, an orangey-brown metallic the likes of which I haven’t seen other than on the car she picked.

    • 0 avatar
      BearWithMe

      Sorry to see most of the replies to your comments have missed the mark. It’s not that the most desirable paint color is an additional upcharge — the issue is that the most desirable colors are simply not available on the base trim, or the midlevel trim, but are instead (as you said) bundled with the higher trims.

      Ford is doing this with the beautiful Cyber Orange Metallic on the upcoming Bronco, and I hate it. I want a base model with Cyber Orange, damn it.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Setting up color palettes for vehicles is quite a process. Historic data, current trends in color for pretty much everything, educated guesswork, and sometimes shots in the dark are utilized. My last employer was BASF Coatings where components of the coating system were manufactured (ecoat, resin, clear) and I was educated in the intricacies of automotive OEM paint – something that the auto manufacturers demanded to be first of all cheap and thinly applied. At the time the chosen colors would be “Florida tested” by setting painted components out in the Florida sun for an extended several month period of time. This required a bit of look-ahead on the colors we were pushing using the above voodoo forecasting. As an aside, one of our senior engineers who was picked up by BASF during an acquisition was invited to corporate headquarters in Ludwigschafen, Germany. His very polite tour guide asked him if he’d ever been to the main facility before. The engineer said, “Why yes, I’ve been close to this facility before some years ago and was looking at it through a Norden bombsight from 18,000 feet.”.

    • 0 avatar
      Sobro

      Back in the mid-1980’s a coworker noted a new Mitsubishi printer in the office and remarked that he’d been over their plant (left unsaid “as a Flight Engineer on a B-29”).

      I will lament selling my Highland Green metallic F-150 but I had to upgrade for travel trailering. I have enjoyed not having a generic colored pickup. The upgrade is Carbon Black metallic from GMC. At least it doesn’t have a black interior.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      ” This required a bit of look-ahead on the colors we were pushing using the above voodoo forecasting. ”

      Can you translate that into English, please?

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        I know nothing about this, so I’ll chime in [see, I’ve been paying attention to how this is supposed to work].

        Paint has lead times like all automotive components have lead times, and the components of the paint (like pigment) have lead times, and so on down the line. Meaning you have to plan ahead to be able to have paint in the guns (maybe 10 colors per line) when the vehicles are coming down the assembly line.

        But for paint it is worse because you have multiple colors and forecasting what the actual take rate will be by color is a relative nightmare. And additionally as bullnuke points out you have to do durability testing on each color which is chosen. The paint exposure tests (in the hot Florida sun) take months as he pointed out. So this further expands the timeline for your forecast – which makes it even more of a work of fiction.

        Meanwhile your design studio is having second thoughts about the palette and your pricing group hasn’t agreed on the upcharge for the premium colors and the dealer council hated that particular shade of blue you thought you liked and the customer clinic fell through because of a pandemic and oops your samples got blown away in a hurricane, but don’t worry all of this will get worked out and the factory paint job on *your* particular new vehicle will be perfect, because rainbow unicorn sparkle.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Also, your story about the engineer sounds suspiciously like an old urban legend that’s been passed around since before the internet was a thing. I’ve heard it myself many times. The company, city, and other small details change slightly, but the story is always basically the same. I suspect whoever told you that story was pulling your leg.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        @FerrariLaFerrariFace – I knew this engineer very well and, obviously, you did not. He was quite a character as was another of our engineers, a man of the Jewish religion, who would state pretty much daily that, “My dead uncle would be rollin’ in his grave if he knew that I was workin’ for these pr**ks.”. His uncle died in the camps.

        • 0 avatar
          FerrariLaFerrariFace

          Yeah, that’s fine. Not trying to call anyone a liar. Just putting it out there. I still think he may have been a real nice guy that was just telling you a tall tale for kicks. Or maybe he was the originator of the story. I just know I’ve heard it a bunch of times from a bunch of people. I have a hard time believing they were all bombardiers turned engineers/CEO/whatever for a German company that all made the same joke on a tour of factory in a city they bombed forty years prior. Sure, it’s possible, but it’s awfully coincidental.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        The U.S. produced more than one bomber during WWII:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_aircraft_production_during_World_War_II

        Many of these bombers were crewed by more than one person.

        Some of these bombers actually made more than one bomb run.

        [And a typical crew member would have still been working age in the 70’s-80’s.]

        TL;DR: Multiple people could tell stories like this (and it wouldn’t make the others wrong).

        Edit: Sorry bullnuke didn’t mean to step on your post – and thank you for the paint post.

  • avatar
    4onthefloor

    I just broke out of the grey, silver, grey/silver combos I purchased for the last 10 years, hoping to recoup a few more dollars at trade in time. Didn’t make a darn bit of difference, so this time we bought what we liked, because I just couldn’t drive or look at another silver car again. I think the pandemic is so d**n depressing, I just had to get something colorful, so dark blue metallic it was. Makes us happy every time we look at it, and the brown leather ( another first for me) interior is much better than the grey or black I always purchased previously.

  • avatar

    As long as US sales are “off the lot” we will lack any real color choice, as the Sales Manager will buy for least objectionable shades, not the nice green, deep red, or unusual whatever. Gray, Grey, Blue Grey, White, and Black. Maybe, one red one. Yawn.

    • 0 avatar
      4onthefloor

      @speedlaw
      Yup they had to do a dealer trade out of state to get what we wanted. A 3 day wait beats looking at a color you don’t like all the time though.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        If you want a two-tone cherry pink and apple blossom white, you’ll have to settle for the song. Even the manufacturer doesn’t offer two tone in ANY colors.

        The best you can do is pick a color that’s easily covered by a private auto paint company – but they have to get the clear coat off first!

    • 0 avatar
      someoldfool

      Yup. The Autoexremist Peter DeLorenzo likes to remind us that the manufacturers’ main customers are NOT the general public, but the dealers. The dealers order and buy what they think will sell. Achromatic paint schemes are safe, black and gray interiors are safe. That’s why there’s hardly any colors out there, just black, white, gray and silver.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I bought my Mazda3 in Soul Red Crystal with the white leather interior and it’s great. Feels so airy in the cabin. At first I was reticent about the white leather because I thought it would get dirty immediately, but so far it’s fine. It must be an unpopular combo because my car was transferred from the other side of Wisconsin after having sat for months.

    I do like the hatch color combo of the Soul Red Crystal exterior over bordello red leather interior, but it was available at the dealer and I wouldn’t have wanted to pay the upcharge for the hatch which looks like a bloated tick.

    • 0 avatar
      4onthefloor

      I read that the soul red is very soft paint, so an investment In PPF may be prudent . My Mazda paint job may just be the best I’ve ever had. They know paint, as mine is flawless. The first chip is going to be devastating. LOL Good luck with your 3!

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        I’ll hop in on the Mazda thread. Looking at the ’20 or the 21 Miata, there is not one appealing interior exterior combo that I care for. The candy apple red is spectacular, but I never cared for red cars. Three of the five ’21 colors are extra cost. I get it, it is a low volume model, so wide ranging choices are not doable.
        Oh, and if you happen to hate black interiors, the only option is the top of the line GT model, and you will pay $300 for white leather which is oddly available with any exterior color except white. WTF? This practice generally applies to all Mazda models.
        It is not just Mazda, I see other car makers who offer only black interiors and achromatic exteriors on the lower trim levels.

        • 0 avatar
          4onthefloor

          @ttacgregg
          When I was in the showroom buying the cx5 , I think the Miata they had in the showroom looked like it had a light brown interior. Perhaps it was a 2020, or a custom or aftermarket interior? I don’t know much about these. This is my first Mazda except for an old rotary pickup I bought with a friend to play around with. Very fast for the time, but we blew the apex seals within 6 months hooning it.. I pretty sure I’m a Mazda customer for life, unless they get crazy.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            The non-black interior color changes year to year.

          • 0 avatar
            4onthefloor

            That explains it. Must have been a 2020. They had 2020 CX5”s in the showroom too, but as I’m sure you’re aware, the 2021 infotainment, is much faster, with an interface change, and a much larger screen, with much better resolution. It also added rear parking sensors, which the wife definitely appreciates, and some other useful items that I can’t recall off the top of my head. Thanks for the info!

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Mazda’s red is absolutely gorgeous!

          • 0 avatar
            N8iveVA

            That Mazda Soul Red is a beautiful color, but I just don’t buy red cars. When I was last in the market (’15-’16) I looked at the CX-5. Loved the looks but I didn’t care for the paint color choices. I didn’t love any of the colors but liked two of the choices. Unfortunately the two tone leather interior I wanted wasn’t available on either of the paint choices. That combined with a couple nit picky things (tiny sunroof opening and floor mounted gas pedal) sent me to another manufacturer.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      Find a good shop and have the car, especially the interior, detailed every year. A clear bra across the front will prevent stone chips. Find a shop that tucks the edges under rather than cuts them at the edge of the panel. You don’t want knife cuts in the paint.

      • 0 avatar
        4onthefloor

        Yup. That’s why I do clear bra on my own. Not many people take the time to do it right, but a little knowledge goes a long way when installing. Watching a few YouTube videos, and I was off and running, combining tips I watched. An install kit also helps, as it had felt wipers and other items I needed to do the job right.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick

      One of my neightbours has one of those. It’s a fantastic colour. Almost custom hotroddish.

  • avatar
    ajla

    BMW won’t let you get a red 3-Series *if* you get an M-Sport package of any kind on the 330i/330e or any M340i. But you can get a basic 330i/330e in red.

    Why lock out red on the sporty offerings?

    • 0 avatar
      4onthefloor

      Ajla,
      I’m mostly German, and a little bit Scottish, have been over there more times than I can count,, because grandparents, and I still can’t figure them out. If you want an overly engineered item to perform a simple task, you want a German!
      I have to chain myself to a radiator when I feel it coming on.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I had to go nearly 100 miles out of town to find a car (Challenger R/T Scatpack) I wanted to buy, in the color I wanted. It’s crazy, the local (Toledo) dealers would have lower end models in decent colors, but at a certain point, the colors dried up until the really loaded up ones, and if I didn’t want to take a car in black/white/silver/gray, I would either have to look out of the area, or go for a lower or higher trim level than I wanted. Up near Detroit, they had dozens of them, exactly as I wanted. I just had to decide what color to get, as most all of them, were equipped exactly as I would have ordered them, and stickered at the same exact price. I had some difficulty in deciding between Octane Red, Plum Crazy Purple, and TorRed, which is what I got. Only color missing was my first pick, Yellow Jacket. Closest one of those equipped as I wanted was West of Chicago and near Pittsburgh in the East and in Ky someplace. I just picked TorRed. I love the car. Bright red never gets old.

    In 2019, A friend of mine and I went out of town to pick up his new Ram Rebel, red and black, at a dealership near Columbus. When we got there, it was kind of jarring to see only two new vehicles with any actual color, my friend’s truck and a Charger in B5 Blue that was an ordered car that ended up not being accepted for whatever reason. “They don’t get too many cars in colors” said the older salesguy, like it wasn’t just odd.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Oh neat. Have fun with your fake Mustang China.

    I’m sure Ford will ensure that it has a better interior and features than the US version too. Ford just loves China

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Colour is courrect.

  • avatar
    Polka King

    The plague of white cars occurred when people got tired of silver-grey, they didn’t want black, and there were no other colors.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    I’ve been waiting years for some alternatives to the usual silver, white and dark grey, and finally I’m seeing some great earthtone colors again.

    It started with Scion’s Army Rock Metallic on the gen2 XB,
    and lately more have come from Toyota, Jeep and Dodge.

    Tacoma:
    Army Green
    Cement
    Lunar Rock

    Jeep Wrangler: Gobi

    Tundra: Quicksand

    And I saw a nice Challenger today in a medium grey that looks great.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    The consumer isn’t deciding what popular colors (colours) are, dealers are making the decision. Very few buyers custom order cars, they purchase from what is on the lot. Dealers are deciding to stock white, black, silver and gray cars….surprise surprise those colors have the highest sales.

  • avatar
    JMII

    What I find interesting is people buy white & black plus all the greys in between yet when they see an real color they always remark how great it looks. Well if you like it so much then start making dealers aware by actually buying it, IE: put your money where your mouth is. My current fleet has a red and a blue vehicle (tri-coat = extra $$). In the past I have owned orange, yellow, and green too. For my wife’s last vehicle purchase I told her she couldn’t get silver since it was too common and she would grow to hate it down the road seeing her “twin”. And I was right… to this day she remarks on how nice the red is on her Infiniti. In fact she calls the car by its color name “Ruby”.

    You’ll notice the launch/press color of a new car is never one of those grey shades (well expect for Audi or Benz). And having a car in that particular color is a plus. For example my 350Z was in Sunset LeMans, the orange you saw in all the press photos in 2003 for the Z’s return. In fact when I bought the car my brother joked if it wasn’t orange he would never speak to me again.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    I give GM a lot of credit for its color palette actually. They brought back emerald green, a color rarely seen except on Jaguars and Range Rovers. 90% of vehicles on our roads these days are disgusting grays, browns, or white. It’s a horrific situation.

  • avatar
    Nick

    I still think that option Audi had of allowing one to pick your colour for what was a remarkably low cost was a great idea. One of the writer’s hear did that, I apologize for not being able to remember. Had I that option, I think I’d opt for Moulin Rouge, even though it’s an Audi.

  • avatar
    Daveo

    I’ve bought my last three cars used and they all ended up being black. They look stealth but are a pain to keep clean. Just bought a Wrangler as a side piece and the color was “Sting Gray”… clearly a play on Stingray which I though was clever. Their green is called Sarge. What I don’t get are some of the other names. We had an SQ5 that was Florett Silver Metallic. And our X3 M40i is Phytonic Blue. What do those words mean? They really don’t give you a visual. When they say “Soul Red Crystal” I immediately know which Mazda color you’re talking about.

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