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Best achiever in 2017: the color white

Berlin, 28 December 2017

Black and gray remain strong, but lose a little ground

Which color do customers in Germany choose for their new car? A ten-year comparison reveals a clear trend: since 2007 the proportion of all newly registered cars that are white has increased seven-fold – from 2.9 percent to 20.8 percent. What is remarkable is that growth has been continuous, from one year to the next. So there is every reason to suppose that this development will continue over the coming years, according to the latest assessment by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

However, first place still goes to gray/silver, although the share of these colors among all new passenger car registrations has gone down from 39.5 percent in 2007 to today’s 28.5 percent. In color psychology, gray stands for objectivity, elegance and integrity, and is associated with descriptions such as professional, analytical and structured.

The color black has maintained its hold on second place but here, too, its share among all new passenger cars has fallen from 30.6 percent (in 2007) to 25.6 percent (Jan.-Nov. 2017). Compared with 2004 – when almost half of all new-car buyers (46.4 percent) selected black – the proportion has gone down by nearly half. According to color psychologists, the color black symbolizes dignity, integrity and respect, and has an especially classical character.

This means that in general the “non-colors” still dominate the new car market. This year so far, three quarters of all newly registered passenger cars (74.9 percent) have been black, white or gray/silver. Ten years ago, the proportion was 73 percent, i.e. almost as high.

Of course the buyers of new cars choose the color they want. But they always take the vehicle’s resale value into account. Obviously, on average used cars of a popular color fetch higher prices because there is more demand for them. So the customers are definitely making a rational decision when they choose a mainstream color.

But how have the other colors performed? Blue has enjoyed a slender rise since the beginning of the decade, and in 2017 it exceeded the 10 percent mark for the first time since 2010, following a continuous loss in popularity from its once high share of 24.9 percent (in 1998, then in first place) (15.1 percent in 2007; 8.2 percent in 2012, the lowest ever figure). Blue is associated with serenity, harmony and friendliness, and is also seen as the color of open spaces and freedom. It is followed by the color red in fifth place, on 6.7 percent (5.2 percent in 2007).

The other colors are fairly insignificant when it comes to new car purchases. Brown takes 3 percent, yellow 1.5 percent, and green 1.3 percent. Even fewer newly registered cars are orange (0.7 percent) or purple (0.3 percent).

The evaluation by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) is based on current data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), including all new passenger car registrations in Germany up to November 2017.

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Speaker

Tel: +49 30 897842-128 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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