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Black, White Top Most Popular Vehicle Color List

Black, White Top Most Popular Vehicle Color List

By Jeff Youngs, June 12, 2013
Black and white are the favored exterior colors for new vehicles purchased or leased in 2013, according to Power Information Network(R) (PIN) retail transaction data* from J.D. Power. Also, younger buyers still prefer vehicles with black exteriors and so do higher percentages of many luxury vehicle buyers and lessees.

Black (21.6%) remains the most popular exterior color choice for all model-year new vehicles purchased in the first four months of 2013. Yet, white (20.8%) has made inroads this year in comparison to the mix of popular vehicle colors in the same 4-month period of 2012. In fact, the percentage of black new vehicles sold dipped 1.0 percentage point from 22.6% a year ago, while the percentage of vehicles selected with white exteriors rose by 1.5 percentage points from 19.3% in the first four months of 2012.

Younger buyers still favor black exteriors, as was the case in January-April 2012. The average buyer of a new black vehicle this year was 45 years old, which was the youngest average customer age for all color choices and was 3 years younger than a year ago.

J.D. Power's PIN data also finds that black tended to be a dominant exterior color choice among luxury or premium brands during the first four months of 2013--especially for Infiniti, Jaguar and Land Rover, in addition to Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche. According to some color experts from the fashion, interior design and auto industries, both black and white denote luxury and status.

White is more popular this year with slightly younger buyers--48 years old on average vs. 49 in 2012. Luxury brands with higher percentages of white new vehicles in the period included: BMW, Lincoln, Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti and Porsche, among others. In addition, among non-luxury brands, nearly one-fourth of new Ford brand vehicles purchased or leased this year were white. Buick had an even higher percentage--28.1%--of white vehicles in its sales mix during January-April 2013.

Silver, a semi-precious metal used in jewelry, flatware and award medals, was most favored as an exterior color from about 2000 through 2009, according to PIN data. This color paint choice now accounts for the third-highest percentage in the new-vehicle sales mix. Some 16.5% of new vehicles sold or leased during the first four months of 2013 were silver vs. 17.5% in the same period of 2012. Buyers and lessees of silver vehicles averaged 50 years old this year, down from 51 in 2012.

Gray continued to gain strength, although at a slower pace. The percentage of gray new vehicles edged up to 12.5% from 12.3% in the same period a year ago. Also, gray tied for the second-youngest average buyer age in both years--48.

Neutral color choices in autos still dominate. However, the fifth and sixth most popular colors--red and blue--remained stable choices. The percentage of new red vehicles inched up a fraction of a point to 11.4% from last year's 11.0%, and the percentage of new blue cars and light trucks fell by a fraction of a point to 11.0%. The remaining 10 colors--including beige, gold and purple--tracked by PIN altogether account for just 6% of the remaining industry sales this year.

*All color analysis is based only on PIN's retail transactions. Fleet transactions are not included. PIN groups all dealer-reported colors into 16 categories.

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