Axalta report shows strong preference for neutrals though color coming back

Clinton Township, Mich.—Axalta Coating Systems released its Global Automotive 2016 Color Popularity Report which confirms a continued global preeminence by white, while hints of colorful hues enliven traditional neutral colors to bring color back into the mainstream.

“We are seeing a clear preference for the neutral shades, but there is a catch,” said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta’s color marketing manager. “We are seeing colorful hues being added to these neutrals to create eye-catching tones. Watch for tints and effects to add depth and beauty to these neutrals in the future.”

Regional highlights from Axalta’s 2016 Color Popularity Report include:

• Worldwide: White stays in first place on nearly four of every 10 new vehicles.

• Africa: Light colors are most favored here: silver and white combined make up 63 percent of new purchases.

• Asia: In China, more than half of vehicles sold are white. Solid white is more popular than pearl white by more than 39 percentage points. Conversely, Japan prefers pearl white (27 percent) to solid white (7 percent).

• Europe: At 17 percent, gray is more popular here than any other region. Black is declining and now 7 percentage points behind first place white.

• North America: Gray is making a mark rising 2 percent in popularity and lengthening its lead over silver.

• Russia: Beige/brown is at 8 percent, just as in China. No other region reaches that mark.

• South America: Green comes in at 5 percent, tied with Russia for green’s most popular regions.


According to Elke Dirks, Automotive OEM color designer for Axalta’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region, Axalta uses the color popularity data to assist customers in decision making. “Our trend reporting enables Axalta to be nimble as we work with automakers on future colors,” she said. “Understanding consumer preferences and trends provides insights that help us forecast where consumer choices may be heading in the years to come.”

Annie You, Axalta OEM color designer based in China, added, “Consumer appreciation of color nuances such as the differences between solid and pearlescent white across Asia reflects the subtle differences among consumer preferences. Awareness of these differences provides a constant reminder that we need to continually review our color palette to keep pace with discerning car buyers and with the automakers who rely on Axalta for color choices.”

Axalta’s full Global Automotive 2016 Color Popularity Report can be viewed and downloaded at

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.