Press Releases

Car colors in 2015: silver overtakes black again

Berlin, 28 December 2015

Silver and black are top choices / white’s first stagnation / 1990s were red, green and blue

Once again far more German car buyers have gone for silver or gray when choosing a color for their car. Last year 28.7 percent of all new cars were supplied with this color of paintwork. That is 1.5 percentage points more than in 2014, and makes silver/gray again the most popular color for new cars – ahead of black (27.3 percent), which took first place in 2014. White comes next in the ranking, at nearly 20 percent. However, there are initial indications that the boom in white could now have passed its peak: whereas in 2006 not even 2 percent of all new passenger cars had white paintwork, at present the figure is one fifth. But now for the first time in ten years, the proportion of new white cars has not increased sharply and instead shows a slight fall. This was the result of an evaluation of data from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) carried out by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). It examined new registrations of passenger cars up to November 2015.

For the buyers of new cars, the choice of color is always an expression of their personality – and a reflection of the spirit of the time. Design trends are also visible. Alongside these factors, however, consideration of the vehicle’s later resale value also plays a major role. Around three quarters of car buyers believe that the choice of color affects the vehicle’s resale value.

This means that black, silver/gray and white – actually the “non-colors” – currently still dominate the choice of paintwork. Three out of four new cars (74.6 percent) have one of these colors. Yet the mix of colors for new cars on Germany’s roads has undergone considerable changes during recent years. In the mid-1990s most customers chose “real” colors. This trend reached its peak in 1996, with two thirds of new cars in the colors red, green, blue or yellow. In 1991, the year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, almost 30 percent of new cars were ordered in red. However, the boom in silver began at the end of the 1990s. Silver (or gray) recovered rapidly from its record low of 12.1 percent in 1995, and by 2004 it was the color of choice for nearly half of all new passenger cars (46.4 percent). Since then it has lost some of its popularity – while black and white have made gains. Over the years, green has almost completely disappeared: around 20 years ago one fifth of new cars had green bodywork, but today the figure has slumped to one in 100. Red, on the other hand, evidently maintains its modest popularity (6.1 percent in 2015).

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

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