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What Is the Most Common Car Color?

By Autolist Staff | April 4, 2019

The most common color in the United States in 2018 was white (26 percent) followed by black (19 percent), grey (18 percent) and silver (13 percent).

Different car types might follow different color trends.

2019 Car Trends
Although neutral colors are still the most popular, there are still some new trends to look out for. Colors are less flat than they used to be. They can look dark from one angle and bright from another giving the car a more interesting look. Manufacturers are also using a white primer as a base to give the top color a brighter look.

Millennials & Bright Colors
Millennials are more likely to purchase bright colors than the generations before. They are more likely to purchase brighter blues and red cars, as well as the occasional yellow and orange car. Even with the demand for bright colors, black and white still make up a good majority of the market for this demographic (42 percent of sales).

Monetary Value of Car Colors
Color can have an impact on the monetary value of the car. Popular colors are generally worth more. Sticking to these colors (white, black, grey or silver) will most likely earn you more money when you are selling or trading in your car.

One drawback is that studies have shown that these neutral colors are more likely to be stolen due to their resale value and greater demand.

Large Car Colors
Large cars, including SUVs, minivans, and trucks also favor white as their most popular color. With these vehicles, white cars make up 19 percent of the market; silver cars are the second-most popular color with 18 percent, while 12 percent are black.

Luxury Car Colors
Nine percent of all new cars are considered luxury vehicles so they can have a slight impact on color popularity. As of 2018, silver is the most popular car color for luxury vehicles, making up one-third of sales. Metallic white at is second with 18 percent of sales and non-metallic white vehicles are another 12 percent of luxury sales. Black has fallen to the fifth most popular car color in the luxury vehicle category.

Sedan & Wagon Colors
Twenty-six percent of new vehicles in North America are sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks. Interestingly, light brown is the third most popular choice for vehicles in this category as of 2018 (meanwhile it's not even in the top five most popular colors for any of the other car types).

Silver and white are still the most popular choice at 28 percent and 12 percent respectively. Black and medium dark blue round out the top five colors in this category.

Convertible Colors
Fourteen percent of new cars are convertibles and coupes. The top five vehicle colors in this category are silver, black, medium dark blue, white, and bright red. Bright red is a much more common color for convertibles in the American market than other categories of cars.

Maintenance
In addition to your favorite color and the resale value, you may also want to consider maintenance responsibilities. Dark colored cars require more care than lighter ones. It's easier to see scratches and swirls on a dark car than a light one. When driving a dark-colored car, you may have to be more careful and spend more money on car care products. In particular, dark metallics and dark reds show the most damage.

While lighter colors like light silver are less likely to show the wear and tear, they can appear dirtier earlier.

Style
Different colors can look better on different styles of cars. It is particularly important to remember this if you are concerned about resale value. Bright greens might look great on a Mustang or other type of convertible, but it might not have the same appeal on a Ford F-150.

Bright colors tend to work best on convertibles or vehicles with a traditionally younger audience. Neutral colors tend to remain pretty constant in popularity, regardless of vehicle type, so they're often a safe bet.

However, colors often reflect changing societal views. Trend colors, like certain shades and hues of bright yellow, blue, and even orange, can change every few years. As millennials buy more cars, these trending colors might become more common. You should keep trends in mind, but it is also important to simply love the color of the car you drive.

History of Car Colors
Car color trends have changed significantly over the years. In the 1920s, prior to the stock market crash of 1929, a wide range of colors was available; multiple, bright colors on one car were common.

In the 1930s through the 1950s, single-color cars and high amounts of chrome were vastly popular.

The gas crisis in the 1970s brought about an environmental change; people began to favor earth colors, particularly browns, yellows, greens and oranges.

The bicentennial year of 1976 saw many people buying cars in red, white, and blue shades.

By the 1990s and 2000s, a rise in tech-based gadgets that were often silver trickled into the auto industry and consumers began to gravitate towards silver-colored cars; Apple's use of the color white on its products (namely the iPod and iPhone) also spurred the popularity of white vehicles.

Blue tones are also more popular than they used to be. This trend is thought to reflect the focus on blue screens throughout the day and the growing interest in space.

However, since the early 2000s, neutral colors are the most popular, making up more than 75% of the market.

There is also more variety in the names and styles of vehicle car colors than you might realize. For example, an orange car might actually be called Tangerine Scream and a purple car might actually be called Tahitian Pearl.

In the past, manufacturers in the automotive industry would have a color advisory service to get a feel for vehicle color trends. Even now, naming car colors can require a team effort. A research team will look at the current trends to develop a company's car palette for the next few years.

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