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White, silver are world's favorite car colors

Posted by Bill Griffith  November 22, 2011 04:16 PM

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(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, file)

White Ford Explorers roll off the assembly line in Chicago.

Most of the time car folks identify the DuPont name with its sponsorship of Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 NASCAR race car. His traditional “Rainbow Warriors” color scheme — currently a more conventional black and red — gives DuPont a bright presence in the sports world. However, it's hardly representative of the color palette seen on the world’s production cars.

Jeff-Gordon-DuPont-car.jpgWhite, white pearl, and silver are the most popular colors in the world, jumping past black and gray, according to DuPont's annual color popularity report, now in its 59th year. The whites and silver each represent 22 percent of the world’s color selections. That’s followed by black (solid) and black effect (metallic or pearlescent) with 20 percent combined.

Rounding out the top 10 are gray (13 percent); red (7 percent); blue (6 percent); brown/beige (5 percent); green (1 percent); gold (1 percent); and the ever-popular “Other” with 2 percent.

“While white historically has been a popular color for vehicles, we’ve seen a bigger shift in its popularity this year than we (DuPont) expected,” says Nancy Lockhart, DuPont color marketing manager.

“Silver and black were once the top colors of luxury, but white has increased in this area,” she says. “The overall trend for casual luxury has spread to numerous vehicle types. The expectation to have a luxurious feel to the vehicle is globally sought. Classic white and pearlescent white effects now are inspiring luxury design.”

The world results reflect what Americans have been saying for years. In 2010, white and white pearl were the top choice in North America for the fifth straight year. This year, the colors represented 23 percent of market share, a number that jumped to 29 percent among the truck/SUV segment. Among smaller SUVs, the color rose from 16 to 18 percent.

The blacks were second with 18 percent (higher in luxury segments) while silver fell to a 16 percent overall North American share. Gray and red took the fourth and fifth spots.

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
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Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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