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White Is World's Favorite Car Color; Takes Title From Silver

About 21 percent of the cars built for the 2011 model year went to market wearing white paint, putting the color ahead of black and silver, which tied for second at 20 percent, according to PPG Industries, which calls itself "the world's leading manufacturer of transportation coatings."

Silver had been the reigning champ for the past 10 years, according to the AP.

As you might expect, it turns out that there are regional preferences for car color. Here are the big markets' preferences:

  • North America: White (20 percent); silver (19 percent)
  • Europe: Black (26 percent); white (19 percent)
  • Asia/Pacific: Silver (25 percent); white (23 percent)

And all three mega-regions have something in common: In each area, only 2 percent of the 2011 cars were green. That's the color green, not the marketing shorthand "green."

PPG says that in its survey of car buyers, 40 percent said there aren't enough color options out there. Perhaps to meet that demand, the Pittsburgh company is offering 70 new colors for the 2014-2015 model years.

The new choices will include "White Nougat, a soft creamy white with a highlight sparkle; Muddy Waters, a tone of brown with a pearl luster effect; Grape Spritz, a blue fused with a purple highlight; and Pot O'Gold, a light green with a hint of gold."

But it's worth taking all these color edicts with a grain of salt. Another car paint supplier, DuPont, said in December that black and silver were battling for global supremacy in the car-color game. And the company also broke down the preference by type, saying that while owners of trucks and standard SUV's prefer white paint, owners of sport and luxury SUV's prefer black.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


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