BASF 2022 Color Report: The Automotive Color Rainbow is Expanding
OE

BASF Color Report: Automotive Color Rainbow is Expanding 

While white and black still win, chromatic colors gain market share around the globe.

As they have for several years, achromatic colors dominated the automotive market around the globe in 2022. But as BASF’s designers found in the company’s Color Report for Automotive OEM Coatings, the automotive color rainbow is expanding to allow colors like yellow, orange, green, and violet to take market share.

Despite the shift in colors, the achromatic colors – white, black, silver, and gray – followed a familiar pattern, coating the majority of the non-commercial vehicles produced in 2022. As it has been for several years, white is still the most popular car color around the world for its classic, timeless beauty, and high resale value.

If buyers didn’t choose achromatic colors, they often went for blue or red. While those two color spaces are still very popular, other chromatic colors like yellow, orange, green, and violet are all gaining market share in most regions of the world. This shows that BASF’s customers – the automakers – are embracing a wider range of diversity and breadth of color than before.

The data cited throughout the report also shows that automakers produced more vehicles as they bounced back from the effects of the global pandemic and regional supply chain challenges.

EMEA: More colorful, even though its two biggest colors (white and black) also increased

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) showed gains for its two most popular colors – white and black – and losses in market share for gray and silver. At the same time, the region got much more colorful.

Blue still has a commanding lead among chromatic colors in EMEA, but both blue and red lost market share. Orange started appearing in car buyers’ preferences, and yellow, brown, and green all picked up a few percentage points.

“White and black increased this year, but the bigger story is diversity in the chromatic colors,” said Mark Gutjahr, head of Automotive Color Design, EMEA. “When you add the market share of yellow, orange, brown, and green, you can see more hues and diversity, reflecting a more nuanced color palette and a depth and breadth of color that has developed in the last year or two.”

North America: More chromatic colors like violet show up

North American car buyers have fewer choices for chromatic colors, but that doesn’t mean they’re choosing fewer chromatic cars, trucks, or SUVs. Blue and red are still dominant, but the region is more colorful than before as green, yellow, violet, and beige show up more often.

Blue is still on top, and the gap between blue and red is widening as blue continues its dominance. Achromatic colors like black, gray, and silver lost some market share, especially in larger vehicles. That allowed earthy tones like beige, brown, and green to increase, and violet to gain market share as car buyers’ tastes change.

“If you look at the heavy hitters among the chromatic colors, blue and red are on top. But with people turning more to nature, natural colors like green, yellow, violet, and beige are making their mark,” said Liz Hoffman, head of design, The Americas. “Car buyers are also looking for a vehicle color that conveys their positivity.”

Asia Pacific: Increase of gray shades boosted the share of achromatic colors

As BASF’s designers saw in other regions of the world, white was also the most popular color in Asia Pacific. The real focus this year is an increase in gray shades, hinting at a new era in the automotive industry, and the changing values and habits of car buyers.

While the total numbers aren’t huge, brown, green, and violet are all consistent in color popularity. It will be a long time before they challenge white for the most popular, but for now, they add to the tremendous diversity of color in Asia Pacific. That’s especially true among small vehicles and NEVs, which are selling in a wider range of colors.

Gray gained about six percentage points in popularity, taking market share from blue, red, gold, and brown.

“Gray is more attractive and popular than ever. Users never give up pursuing uniqueness and individuality in achromatic colors,” said Chiharu Matsuhara, head of design, Asia Pacific. “Some gray shades with blue or violet undertones are working their way into the market, with solid-like effects and also added color pearl effects showing great diversity in the color space.”

South America: The lightest region as white, silver, and beige dominate the market

Historically, South American car buyers have chosen more traditional, less flashy colors. Like other regions, white is by far the favorite, and gray beats black in market share for the achromatic colors.

For chromatic colors, red and blue were stable, while brown gained some market share. Those colors were most likely chosen for smaller vehicles. Larger cars and SUVs had the highest share of achromatic colors, including new and varied effects for gray featured on larger cars.

“South America is still a conservative region. Buying a vehicle in SA means you may not have the same variety of colors, but within each color space, there are some really exciting and different effects,” said Marcos Fernandes, Director Regional Business Management, Automotive Coatings South America.

The BASF Color Report for Automotive OEM Coatings is a data analysis from BASF’s Coatings division based on global automotive production and paint application to non-commercial vehicles in 2022.

You May Also Like

GM Signs Long-Term Nickel Supply Agreement with Vale Canada

This agreement secures for GM a supply of nickel sulfate from a U.S. free-trade partner to support its fast-growing EV production needs in North America.

Vale Canada Limited, a subsidiary of Vale S.A., and General Motors Co. have signed a term sheet for the long-term supply of battery grade nickel sulfate from Vale's proposed plant at Bécancour, Québec, Canada. This agreement secures for GM a supply of nickel sulfate from a U.S. free-trade partner to support its fast-growing EV production needs in North America. Nickel sulfate is the chemical compound used in the production of pre-cathode active materials for nickel-based lithium-ion batteries. Under terms of the agreement, Vale will supply battery-grade nickel sulfate, equivalent to 25,000 metric tons per year of contained nickel, for use in GM's Ultium battery cathodes, which will power a broad portfolio of electric vehicles including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Blazer EV and Equinox EV, the Cadillac LYRIQ, the GMC Sierra EV, and the GMC HUMMER EV Pickup and SUV. The amount of contained nickel is sufficient to supply approximately 350,000 EVs annually. Deliveries are targeted to commence in the second half of 2026. This initiative highlights Vale's uniquely strategic position to be the supplier of choice to the EV industry, leveraging its low-carbon footprint and market-leading position as North America's largest producer of finished nickel. Vale and GM have also agreed to study collaborative ways to partner on advanced technology development and commercialization pathways to harvest recycled metals.  

AAM to Supply Axles for GM’s Next-Gen Pickup

The new vehicles will debut for model year 2023.

GM Donates New Engines to Auto Tech Training Schools

Ninety new engines were donated to 51 GM Automotive Service Education Program schools for hands-on training.

Tenneco Supplies Monroe Intelligent Suspension for Li Auto EV

CVSAe damper modules for the L9 will be manufactured in Tenneco’s plant in Changzhou, China.

J.D. Power: Brand Loyalty Strong Among New-vehicle Owners

Toyota ranks highest in two segments; BMW, Ford and Porsche rank highest in one segment each.

Other Posts

Rare Vehicle Painted with BASF Paint Receives Award

As one out of only 108 GTO Judge convertibles produced in 1969, the vehicle has had the same owner since 1970.

BASF Launches Renewable Automotive Coatings in China

BASF’s biomass balance automotive OEM coatings were first introduced in Europe this past May.

BASF Opens Chemetall Innovation & Technology Center in China

The center will focus on developing advanced surface treatment solutions for a wide range of market segments in Asia.

Lear to Supply Electrification Technologies to GM

Lear says it will supply key electrification technologies for the automaker’s Ultium global electric vehicle platform.