Call it white hot! Twenty-two percent of all 2012 model cars and trucks were painted white, followed closely by silver with 20 percent of the market. That's the word from paint maker PPG Industries, which conducts an annual survey to determine which car colors are the most popular around the world. It's the bane of every car owner. Birds poo the most on this color car. White beat out silver for the second year in a row -- prior to that, silver was on top for a decade -- due in large part to pickup truck buyers. Why? Many businesses prefer white for their pickup trucks, since it makes their logos and on-truck ads stand out more sharply. One-quarter of all pickup trucks sold in the United States in 2012 were white, compared with 19 percent of midsized cars. The rise in white's popularity is partially due to the increasing varieties of white, shades of which range from vibrant and bright to rich and creamy.

The top car colors worldwide for the 2012 model year:

  1. White: 22 percent
  2. Silver: 20 percent
  3. Black: 19 percent
  4. Gray: 12 percent
  5. Red: 9 percent
  6. Natural: 8 percent
  7. Blue: 7 percent
  8. Green: 2 percent
  9. Other colors: 1 percent


Color preferences also differ by location. Buyers in North America are more likely to favor red vehicles than people elsewhere, while Europeans prefer black and gray over silver. In Asia, drivers are more likely to choose tan or gold, but shun green. Blue cars, however, manage a consistent 7 percent in each part of the world.

  • 77 percent of respondents said exterior color was a factor in their automotive purchase decision.
  • Owners of large luxury cars, sporty cars and large premium SUVs place the most value on getting the color of their choice.
  • 45 percent of respondents said they would prefer a wider range of color choices.
  • Metal shades such as gold, bronze and copper are increasing in popularity.