BASF Analyzes Color Trends in European Automotive Sector

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MUENSTER, Germany – The new “BASF European Color Report For Automotive OEM Coatings” from BASF’s Coatings division provides detailed insights into the colors sported by the cars on Europe’s roads. It also highlights end customers’ growing need for individuality expressed by special effects and a variety of colors.

White is still the most popular car color in Europe, with a share of 29%, followed by black with 19% and gray with 18%. Nearly 80% of the automotive colors in 2016 belong to the achromatic color range. Among the chromatic colors, blue continues to be the most popular color, with 10%, followed by red and brown. When the vehicle segments are compared, small cars are often finished in white or chromatic colors, while for SUVs, gray is the predominant color.

Although the distribution of colors in 2016 remained nearly constant, there was an increase in the color diversity within the color ranges. The reasons for this are the ongoing development of new colors, as well as the high demand for special effects across the board. Mixing existing colors with different effect particles produces customized pearl or metallic effects. The wide range of possible combinations gives rise to an extraordinary abundance of color variations. “This wide range of possibilities for car colors also goes hand in hand with the social megatrend toward individualization. Nowadays, end customers are able to select unique, personalized colors for their cars,” said Stefan Sickert, head of Project Management, Basecoat. In addition to helping individualize a car, effects also accentuate the body shape and thus highlight the vehicle’s character. Blue is the leading color in terms of diversity with over 100 color variations. Gray is close behind with some 90 different shades.

With the analysis of the distribution of automotive colors in Europe, BASF’s European Color Report supplements the facts contained in the Automotive Color Trends, published annually by BASF’s Coatings division. While the trend collection presents color concepts that will shape the automotive future, the Color Report is concerned with the present-day market situation and thus refers to the data of the previous year.