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Why Is the Most Popular Car Color So Boring?

One of the most beautiful things about a car lot is the array of colors spread out along the pavement. It’s almost as if a rainbow has appeared before you, and you’re on an adventure to find your perfect pot of gold. 

When it comes to choosing a vehicle, adding a little personality and flair to your purchase can be a fun side of what would otherwise be a stressful purchase. At least, you would think so based on some of the crazy color options available. However, the most popular car color sold may just surprise you. 

With automakers coming out with new and exclusive colors, you would think that car enthusiasts would be excited for expanding options. 

There’s a surge of individuality in entertainment and fashion. One wouldn’t be too far off base in assuming this thought process carried over to the automotive industry. Those assumptions would be wrong, at least when speaking to the majority of car owners. 

It seems that once again, neutrals reign supreme amongst car owners. While bright colors can signify boldness and the ushering in a new era, subdued colors remain classic. And it seems traditional colors are what buyers are sticking with these days. 

What color palette are most drivers seeking out? And should automakers continue putting effort toward creating more stand-out options when only a small margin wants them? 

While some automakers charge a premium for more vibrant colors, it’s still surprising to see such a small margin of these pigmented vehicles being purchased. Let’s take a look into precisely what hues are getting hearts pumping. 

White is the new black 

A white 2021 Toyota C-HR driving down a city road
A white 2021 Toyota C-HR in action | Photo via Toyota

With more options available to shoppers than ever before, it may be surprising to learn that white is the most popular car color for 2020. This echoes the most popular car color selections for 2019. You’d think drivers would go after more cheerful or exciting colors with everything going on in the world this year. However, it seems a more soothing pallet has won out. 

According to Kelley Blue Book, the stats are in, and they are staggeringly in favor of understated elegance. White is the chosen color for 38 percent of cars sold across the globe. In North America, 30 percent of car owners decided to go with the snow-driven hue, as well. It’s safe to say that if you want to keep up with the Joneses, you’re going to need a white car just like they have. 

Other popular car colors are also in the neutral zone 

White, blue, and silver Chevy Corvettes on display
A trio of colorful 2021 Chevy Corvettes | Photo via Chevrolet

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Bringing up the rear for most sought-after colors also wouldn’t be the most obvious choice to spark joy. Black is the next most popular car color donning models this year, comprising 19 percent of North American car sales. 

Keeping in theme, the love child of black and white, gray, ties with black and accounts for an additional 19 percent of cars bought this year. Some car buyers stretched a bit, putting on the ritz and getting daring with silver, which holds steady at 10 percent popularity. Blue, the only somewhat exciting color to be mentioned, also garnered the attention of 10 percent of buyers in North America. 

These choices aren’t shocking when looking at the popularity of colors in year’s past. However, the real scoop this year may seem less than exciting. Finally, good old gray has edged out silver in popularity. Many attribute this to the fact that gray is now seen as luxurious and upscale in other industries. 

For instance, gray has overtaken home design and the fashion industry as the hue to exude understated style. It’s no surprise that this way of thinking has bled over into the automotive industry. It looks like the days of shimmery silver may just be coming to an end. 

Color counts for car shoppers 

Green and yellow BMW M3 Competition models driving on a track
Two colorful BMW M3 Competition sports cars on a track | Photo via BMW

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Everyone is refining their aesthetic these days. Whether it’s loud and bright colors or more refined and sophisticated shades, color says a lot about an item. This is also true of the cars we drive. It seems that the people have spoken. They want are elegant, clean, and classic colors for years to come.  So, white will likely remain the most popular car color for quite some time.