The BASF Color Report 2020 for Automotive OEM Coatings shows the automotive color palette shifting in unconventional ways, unveiling a wider range of chromatic colors rolling off the world’s assembly lines.
Diverse shades like blue and yellow are making gains in some regions, while red and violet are slowly cutting the lead held by the achromatic colors in other parts of the world. The expanding color spaces made the overall spectrum broader than 2019 and added a flash of brilliance.
Despite the shift in colors, the achromatic colors – white, black, silver, and gray – followed a familiar pattern, coating the majority of the vehicles produced. As it has been for several years, white is still the most popular car color around the world. It has a classic, timeless beauty, and a connection to both the environment and high technology.
The data cited throughout this report shows lower total vehicle production than past years. It includes times when automakers had to shut down due to COVID-19. The global pandemic has deeply affected the mobility economy and the world.
EMEA: Greater diversity of chromatic colors and shades
Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) follows the global movement of chromatic colors. In 2020, about 11% of new vehicles in EMEA were coated in blue, making it the most popular chromatic color. Violet is a newcomer to the market, increasing diversity even more. Other chromatic colors are also gaining popularity, especially on smaller SUVs as their market segment grows.
Part of the variety comes from the diversity of shades. OEM automakers used more than 160 distinct shades of blue in 2020 on vehicles in EMEA. Gray was second with 140 shades. Both color spaces were more diverse than white, which only had 70 distinct shades.
In the achromatic spectrum, white is still on top at 28% of the market, followed by gray and black.
“Color variety changes with size. For example, where violet has a unique home in mid-size SUVs, it does not appear in great numbers in smaller or larger SUVs,” said Mark Gutjahr, head of automotive color design, EMEA. “The opposite is true with yellow, which shows up in both the very small and the very large, but not the middle. These are specific and unique color positions...