America's favorite car colors seem to have gotten more conservative in recent years, possibly as a result of the economy, according to experts.
White and pearl white were the most popular car colors among North Americans last year, together accounting for 17.8 percent of car sales, according to the 2009 DuPont Global Automotive Color Popularity Report. Other leading car colors were black (17.7 percent), silver (16.7 percent), gray (13 percent), blue (12.4 percent) and red (12 percent).
North America's favorite car colors white, black and silver - are universally popular. Globally, the top five vehicle colors are silver (25 percent), black (23 percent), white (16 percent), gray (13 percent) and blue (9 percent), as the graph below from DuPont's report shows.
In Europe, black, silver and gray account for 26, 20, and 18 percent of the automotive market, according to the DuPont ranking. Silver reigns in Russia, making up 30 percent of new car sales, while India also takes a shine to the metallic hue at 27 percent.
Black, silver and gray have held steady as top colors as a result of the economy, researchers at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands recently found. Consumers are wise to the fact that bright and unusually-colored cars have a lower resale value even if they originally carry the same price tags on the lot.
"A car in silver or yellow goes for the same price at the dealership, but the resale value greatly differs between the two," said Ben Vollaard, an author of the study. "The National Auto Auction Association estimates that on average, a used car in a popular color sells for a thousand dollars more than the same car with a less desirable color."
Although there are some variations across countries regarding which colors are the most popular, most countries seem to agree on what car colors they don't like. Worldwide, colors such as green, purple, pink and orange made up only a combined total of 14 percent of automotive market sales.
The more popular the color, the more likely a car is to be stolen, the Netherlands study also found. Researchers determined that thieves are almost 40 percent less likely to steal an unusually-colored vehicle, such as a lime-green BMW, because of its lower resale value. For example, none of the pink cars used in the study were stolen.
Just how important is a car's paint job to those looking to buy a new ride? A whopping 39 percent of consumers will leave a dealership if it doesn't have the vehicle they want in their color of choice, according to a 2007 Ford Motor study.
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