Choosing the Right Color for Your New Car

May 17, 2010

Are you concerned about making a color choice that could make it more difficult to sell or trade your car in a few years?  According to DuPont Automotive, you can’t go wrong if you choose a white exterior. DuPont’s Color Popularity Report crowns white as the most popular color for new cars in North America for the third straight year.

Surprising to some buyers is the fact that black is a close second, with silver not far behind in third place. Although gray comes in fourth, blue and red are increasing in popularity and rank fifth and sixth.

New car buyers take into account many factors when choosing a color. They not only have their own personal preference, but that of a spouse or other family members to consider. Savvy car buyers also don’t want to choose a color that buyers won’t like in three or four years, making it harder to resell.

Here are the top ten colors in North America:

1.       White            17.8%

2.       Black            17.0%

3.       Silver            16.7%

4.       Gray             13.0%

5.       Blue              12.4%

6.       Red              12.0%

7.       Brown             5.7%

8.       Green             2.8%

9.       Yellow/Gold     2.3%

10.     Other               >1%

What the Future Holds

Color remains a major reason a given buyer chooses a specific car to buy. Yet car makers need to recognize color trends three years in advance to be able to integrate changes into the manufacturing process.

Here are the current trends DuPont identifies: both white and silver have been slipping in popularity in recent years while black is gaining ground. The subtler tones now available have also increased the popularity of blue and red.

From the Front Lines

As Internet Manager for a major car dealer, I saw two types of buyers walk onto a dealership’s sales lot. I experienced first-hand the agony some buyers went through deciding on color: “What’s it like to maintain?” “Which color is safer?” “Which color hides scratches and blemishes the best?”

The second category of buyer knows exactly what color they want. Some are actually willing to switch models, and in rare cases manufacturers, in order to get the color they want.

Other buyers in this category know what they want but are more flexible. Flexibility is often a good thing, especially when new car inventories are tight. Being willing to accept your second or third color choice can help you to get your new car now and at the price you want. The least advantageous option is waiting to a point in the future for the exact color you want when the loss of manufacturer and dealer incentives may increase the cost of the car beyond what’s practical.

Whichever category you fit in, the above chart will help you understand what other buyers are choosing for their new car exterior colors. The next DuPont Automotive Color Popularity Report is due late in 2010. 


L. James Johnson's new book, HELP! I Gotta Sell My Car NOW! New Rules for Selling Your Vehicle Online! is available for download at You can also download his FREE report, The 8 Biggest Mistakes Used Car Buyers Make & How to Avoid Them!

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