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Car Colour Trends Over The Years

Ever since the dawn of time, humans have longed for the freedom of choice. Whether it’s where to live, what you do for an income or more materialistic decisions like what kind of hairstyle you want or even what kind of car to drive.

One of the first questions we’re asked when we tell our friends and loved ones about a new car we’ve recently acquired is often “What colour is it?”  – almost as if this is one of the key factors in your purchase decision. The concept of choice allows us to select the most suitable option tailored to who we are, what we like and how we choose to express ourselves to the world.

Car Colour Wasn’t Always An Option

Having a choice of colour preference in automobiles wasn’t always an option to consumers. Ever since the world’s first modern car was released to the world in the late 1800s by German inventor Karl Benz, the luxury of owning a car was reserved only for the wealthiest of society, with cars only becoming widely available in the 20th century.

Between the 1890s to 1900s in the pioneering era of automobile history, those who could afford cars were fortunate to own a modern, innovative mode of transport, with colour being the last thing on their wish list. If cars were painted with any colour, they were most often finished in either a dark grey or black, with black being the predominant choice.

Why were cars mostly black? Simply because it was a more affordable shade of paint at the time. It is also likely that cars followed the trend of the Gilded Age where machinery and other modes of transport were traditionally black, including ships and common locomotives.

“A customer may have a car in any colour he desires, so long as its black.” – Henry Ford 

Colour Technology Has Come A Long Way

Thanks to the advances in automotive painting processes and different styles of coating becoming commercially available, consumers of today can now enjoy a vast range of colour choices. Popular coating styles like clearcoat, peal coat and metallic paint options now provide further variances for car owners who aren’t fond of the standard black finish.

It wasn’t until the end of the first decade that additional colours began to hit the market for consumers. Initial colour variances included greens and reds to support the range of options, with most colour varieties being from darker shades.

Fast forward to the 1920s and the choice of colour became more financially attainable, leading to even more shades hitting the market. Colours were very traditional extending to dark blues, pale greens and even maroon palettes helping to introduce a burst of colour and vibrancy to the market.

In today’s market, we have the luxury of thousands of colour variations to choose from. If you’re after a good overview of the transition from the early days of vehicle colours up until today’s era of vast choice in the commercial market, The Evolution of Colour in the American Automotive Industry is a great place to start.

If your car needs a fresh respray or paint protection, contact us.

White Leads The Global Market 

Before we mention the colour white, is it a colour at all? Whilst this is a hot topic of much debate for many, we’re going to refer to it as a colour for the sake of this article.

With all of the colours in the market to choose from, you would think that white is one of the least popular throughout the car industry, but you would be wrong! White is by far the most commercially popular colour in today’s global car market, having held the title as the world’s most popular car colour for 10 years straight according to Axalta’s annual colour popularity report. First published in 1953, this report measures global colour demand and in its latest report, white held a 38% market share worldwide.

Digging a little deeper, the 67th Annual Global Automotive Color Popularity Report by the Swiss-based automotive coatings experts revealed the following headlines from its 2019 report:

  • White Dominates Consumer Preference for the Ninth Consecutive Year

  • Grey Outranks Silver for the #3 Spot on the Global List

  • Silver’s Popularity is the Lowest in a Decade

  • Grey is the Leading Auto Colour in Europe for the First Time Ever

Interesting to see how we’ve gone from darker colours of grey and black to now focusing on a lighter palette preference of whites and greys. This preference also holds closer to home in the Australian market where, according to Car Advice, white remains the nation’s top colour preference with 48% of all Hyundai i30s sold Australia-wide following the trend!

What About Other Regional Preferences?

It makes sense that the neutral colour of white is a crowd favourite, however, colour preferences for car purchases do differ across the globe. Again referencing the 2019 report by Axalta, the following key preferences were found regionally throughout the world.

  • Africa – Consumers prefer lighter shades of colours with 58% of cars being either white or silver.

  • Asia – Leading the charge was pearl white which continues to grow in popularity throughout the region.

  • Europe – The most popular colour is grey overtaking white as the long-time favourite.

  • North America – There is a notable trends towards blue with a 10% market-share (up 2% in the last year).

  • Russia – Unlike any other market, Russians prefer warmer colours of beige and brown.

  • South America – Despite worldwide trends on a downward trajectory, South Americans prefer silver vehicles.

And The Car Colour Of 2020 Is…

Cue the drum roll because the official colour of 2020 as named by Pantone is Classic Blue and the automotive industry has followed suit. Whilst a less conventional colour, the growing trend towards blue cars has been noticed throughout global markets already – a far cry from the traditional colours of white and black.

In a recent interview with Jeffrey Liu (Colour Materials Design Manager at Ford) he confirmed that the shift towards blue purchases has stood out in recent trade shows, with the market receiving an overdue burst of colour.

“I was recently in Shanghai for the motor show and there was lots and lots of blue. I would describe it as a chromatic blue – not deep navy or neutral blue, but the bright ones, the strong cobalts, red-based blues or a vibrant teals”. Jeffrey Liu (Ford)

Our Car Colour Matching Technology

Maintaining your car’s colour vibrancy is something we pride ourselves on delivering for all customers thanks to our state-of-the-art colour-matching technology. There is nothing worse than putting your car in for smash repairs or panel beating, only to spot colour inconsistencies after you get it back. This is something we simply don’t stand for. Our fully down-drafted pressurised cabins and dust-free painting environment provide the perfect environment for refinishing vehicles with premium paintwork and our attention to detail is second to none.

“If you bring in your car to us for either smash repairs, scratch repairs or panel beating services, we’ll ensure we match the exact colour so you can never spot the difference. It’s all thanks to our industry-leading equipment, cutting edge technology and experienced team.”  – Aaron Scagliotta (Director, Gino’s Panel & Paint).

Does Your Car Need A Touch-Up?

Does your paintwork need some TLC or are you in need of a respray to maintain the vibrancy of your prized asset? Come in for a car respray or protect your vehicle’s paint finish with our premium paint protection service. Since we all now have an extensive choice of colours at our disposal, Gino’s does our best to help our customers’ vehicles shine bright like a diamond on the Perth streets.

Give us a call or contact us today to book your vehicle with our team of professionals.

For paint protection services or a car respray, contact us.



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