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What's the most popular color for new cars? White.

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Nam Y. Huh/AP/File

(Read caption) This October 2012 file photo, shows a white Hyundai Santa Fe outside of a Hyundai car dealership in Des Planines, Ill. Twenty-two percent of cars and trucks built for the 2012 model year have white paint, making it the most popular color worldwide.

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For the second year in a row white remained the most popular color for new cars, though other favorites such as silver and black weren’t far behind in the rankings. The claim is the result of a study conducted by one of the world’s leading manufacturers of transportation coatings, PPG Industries.

White was used on 22 percent ofall new vehicles sold globally over the past year, according to PPG, followed by silver on 20 percent of vehicles and black on 19 percent. They were followed by gray (12 percent), red (9 percent), tan (8 percent), blue (7 percent), green (2 percent) and other colors (1 percent).

It should be noted that the figures are based on PPG’s automotive production data and broken down by paint usage across three regions, North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. This means that vehicles bought up by fleets and other commercial uses are also included, which could be one of the reasons why white is so popular. Also, the top three colors, white, silver and black, are typically found in all vehicle segments.

North American statistics were slightly different. White still ranked first (21 percent) but was followed by black (19 percent), silver and gray (both on 16 percent), red (10 percent), blue (8 percent), tan (7 percent) and green (3 percent).

In Europe, white was also the most popular, while in the Asia Pacific region white and silver tied for first place.

While it appears that large proportions of the population pick the same colors for their new cars, you have to remember that colors can be divided into different hues and shades--even white, which can feature matte or pearl finishes, or influences of other colors. In fact, PPG has found the more and more buyers are opting for special effects in their choice of coatings, such as metallic flakes, bright aluminum additives or matte finishes.  

Developing the right mix of colors is serious business for companies like PPG, as well as automakers. In a survey run last year, PPG found that 77 percent of respondents considered exterior color options when making automotive purchase decisions. 


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