The BASF 2020 Colour Report for Automotive OEM Coatings shows the automotive colour palette shifting in unconventional ways, unveiling a wider range of chromatic colours rolling off the world’s assembly lines.
Diverse shades like blue and yellow are making gains in some regions, while red and violet are slowly cutting the lead held by the achromatic colours in other parts of the world. The expanding colour spaces made the overall spectrum broader than 2019 and added a flash of brilliance.
Despite the shift in colours, the achromatic colours – white, black, silver, and grey – followed a familiar pattern, coating most the vehicles produced. As it has been for several years, white is still the most popular car colour around the world. It has a classic, timeless beauty, and a connection to both the environment and high technology.
EMEA: Greater diversity of chromatic colours and shades
Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) follows the global movement of chromatic colours. In 2020, about 11% of new vehicles in EMEA were coated in blue, making it the most popular chromatic colour. Violet is a newcomer to the market, increasing diversity even more. Other chromatic colours are also gaining popularity, especially on smaller SUVs as their market segment grows. Part of the variety comes from the diversity of shades, as automakers used more than 160 distinct shades of blue, whilst grey was second with 140 shades. Both colour spaces were more diverse than white, which only had 70 distinct shades.
North America: More blue, just as anticipated
North American car buyers have fewer choices for chromatic colours, but that doesn’t mean they’re choosing fewer chromatic cars, trucks, or SUVs. Blue gained more popularity as an automotive colour in North America, edging out red, while beige and brown have dropped off the list. That leaves green as the only other chromatic colour in significant numbers in the region. BASF designers could see this coming. As early as 2016, BASF designers described blue as “a major colour direction for the automotive industry that will gain market share in upcoming years.”
Asia Pacific: Black and grey rising, while brighter colours showing up
Asia Pacific is home to the largest volume of automotive production in the world, and a microcosm of global colour popularity. While every region is different, Asia Pacific’s preferences mirror global data, and its bright colours mirror the awakening that chromatic colours are experiencing elsewhere. White is still the most popular colour in the region at 48%, and black and grey continue to improve, following a three-year trend that eats away at the dominance of white.
South America: Conservative buyers choose more conservative colours
Colours such as red and blue, which are so popular in other regions of the globe, are still players in South America, especially among car buyers who are trying to express their individuality with sportier cars. What’s more significant is the market’s love of achromatic colours. Historically, South American car buyers have chosen more traditional, less flashy colours, and like other regions, white is by far the favourite at 39%, although the popularity of grey and silver is higher than in other regions, with 18% for each. Unlike other regions, red stands out as the top chromatic colour with 9%.