BASF: While white and black still win, chromatic colours gain market share around the globe

 

  • Expanding colour spaces make the overall rainbow of automotive colour broader
  • White, black, gray, and silver still dominate for non-commercial vehicles
  • Yellow, orange, green, and violet all gain market share

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

Despite the shift in colours, the achromatic colours – 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 colour around the world for its classic, timeless beauty, and high resale value.

If buyers didn’t choose achromatic colours, they often went for blue or red. While those two colour spaces are still very popular, other chromatic colours 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 colour 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 colourful, even though its two biggest colours (white and black) also increased

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

Blue still has a commanding lead among chromatic colours 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 colours,” said Mark Gutjahr, head of Automotive Colour 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 colour palette and a depth and breadth of colour that has developed in the last year or two.”

North America: More chromatic colours like violet show up

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 and red are still dominant, but the region is more colourful 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 colours 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 colours, blue and red are on top. But with people turning more to nature, natural colours 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 colour that conveys their positivity.”

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

As BASF’s designers saw in other regions of the world, white was also the most popular colour 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 colour 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 colour in Asia Pacific. That’s especially true among small vehicles and NEVs, which are selling in a wider range of colours.

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 colours,” 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 colour pearl effects showing great diversity in the colour 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 colours. Like other regions, white is by far the favorite, and gray beats black in market share for the achromatic colours.

For chromatic colours, red and blue were stable, while brown gained some market share. Those colours were most likely chosen for smaller vehicles. Larger cars and SUVs had the highest share of achromatic colours, 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 colours, but within each colour space, there are some really exciting and different effects,” said Marcos Fernandes, Director Regional Business Management, Automotive Coatings South America.

The BASF Colour 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.

 

About BASF’s Coatings division

The Coatings division of BASF is a global expert in the development, production and marketing of innovative and sustainable automotive OEM and refinish coatings, decorative paints as well as applied surface treatments for metal, plastic and glass substrates in a wide range of industries. This portfolio is supplemented by “Beyond Paint Solutions”, which enable new applications with innovative surfaces. We create advanced performance solutions and drive performance, design and new applications to meet our partners’ needs all over the world. BASF shares skills, knowledge and resources of interdisciplinary and global teams for the benefit of customers by operating a collaborative network of sites in Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific. In 2021, the Coatings division achieved global sales of about EUR 3.44 billion.

Solutions beyond your imagination – Coatings by BASF. For more information about the Coatings division of BASF and its products, visit www.basf-coatings.com.

About BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Around 111000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio comprises six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of EUR 78.6 billion in 2021. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com