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Colors have a great deal of meaning. They convey emotions, reflect our personality, carry cultural significance, and symbolize many different things. Colors also are also an important part of the car buying process. In addition to choosing what car you want to buy, you also choose the exterior paint color option. There is one color that is considerably more popular than all the rest for cars. Can you guess which color?

Row of Toyota cars at a dealership, highlighting a story about the most popular car colors
Toyota cars at a dealership | David McNew/Getty Images

As reported by Ward’s Auto, automotive paint supplier Axalta released its annual rankings of the world’s most popular car color for its Global Automotive Color Popularity Report. Once again, white took the top spot as the most popular car color. According to Axalta, in 2021, 35% of new cars purchased were white. 

The next most popular car colors in the world are black (19%) and gray (19%), followed by silver (9%), blue (8%), and red (5%). Here are the full rankings of the world’s most popular car colors in 2021:

  1. White (35%)
  2. Black (19%)
  3. Gray (19%)
  4. Silver (9%)
  5. Blue (8%)
  6. Red (5%)
  7. Brown/beige (3%)
  8. Green (1%)
  9. Yellow/gold (1%)
  10. Other colors (<1%)

What is the most popular car color in the United States?

2022 Tesla Model 3 with white exterior paint color, the most popular car color in the world
2022 Tesla Model 3 with a white paint color | Tesla

For the Global Automotive Color Popularity Report, car buyers in North America showed a similar preference for car colors as the rest of the world. In 2021, white was the most popular car color in North America. 28% of North American car buyers chose white for the car color, followed by gray (21%), black (20%), blue (10%), and silver (10%). Notably, North America has the world’s highest percentage of new cars with a red color (8%). 

The country with the highest percentage of car buyers that buy white cars is China at 50%. Conversely, the only region in the world that doesn’t have white as the most popular color is Europe. In Europe, the top car color choice is gray (27%), followed by white (23%), and black (22%). For luxury cars and SUVs, black (37%) is the most popular car color in Europe. 

Why is white the most popular car color? 

For the Global Automotive Color Popularity Report, white has been the most popular car color since 2011. As detailed by The News Wheel, the popularity of white for a car color might be due to the “Apple effect.” 

Before 2011, the most popular car color was silver. At the turn of the century, many electronic devices, including Apple products, had a silver or metallic color scheme. The introduction of the iPhone, which is available in white, changed this. As a result, automotive shoppers’ preference for white cars increased.

The News Wheel also details how psychologists describe the appeal of the color white. Like the Apple brand, the color white “evokes a persona that’s fresh, young, minimalist, and modern while possessing taste, elegance, and honesty.”

While car companies try to appeal to car buyers with a new palette of exotic paint colors each year, ultimately, a simple color is the most appealing. Once again, white is the most popular car color. 


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