BASF Color Report 2023 for Automotive OEM Coatings

The Coatings division also creates an annual analysis of the most popular automotive colors. Unlike the Automotive Color Trends, the Color Report uses market data on automotive production and determines color preferences on a global and regional level using this data.The analysis also compares color matches and deviations between different segments. BASF uses this information in customer consulting and incorporates it in the development of new color shades.

Overview Global

EMEA: Diverse color tastes across nations; achromatic shades reign while chromatic favorites differ

The achromatic colors – white, black, gray, and silver – gained two percentage points in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Car buyers shifted away from lighter colors of white and silver, to darker shades of black and gray. Premium cars had more effects pigments than entry and mid-price classes, showing the depth and creativity of color.

When European consumers chose colors, there were country-specific preferences. Germany loves blue (11%), Spain and the UK prefer red and orange (approximately 9%), France adores green (6%), and Italy shows its love for all the colors, with its share of chromatic colors being the largest among all five countries (30%).

Overview EMEA
While the achromatic colors are still the most popular, each country appears to have its favorite place on the chromatic realm. Different color distribution could be seen in each of the major EMEA countries, and in general. Our customers, the automakers, have left a lot of room for individuality and creativity in car dealerships now, and car buyers are taking advantage of that.

Mark Gutjahr

Global head of Automotive Color Design for BASF

North America: Lighter achromatic colors and more effects pigments show up

Like EMEA, achromatic colors in North America – white, black, silver, and gray – gained two percentage points overall. Consumers moved in a lighter direction after automakers retired several gray colors. Those were often replaced with shades of silver.

North America also had the highest share of red cars compared to other regions in 2023. However, red was not able to beat blue as the most popular chromatic color in North America.

Overview North America
We’re experiencing the same shift that other regions are seeing. The old standard color palette no longer applies. Lighter shades are getting more popular, taking market share from gray. More and more choices have effects pigments to give them intensity and excitement.
Elizabeth Hoffmann

Elizabeth M. Hoffmann

Color Designer for North America

Asia Pacific: Increasing chromatic colors with more variations in effects

Continuing its leading position in the new automotive color palette, the share of chromatic colors in Asia Pacific was slightly up compared to 2022. The popularity of natural colors increased, especially green. Lighter colors became more popular, especially light grayish colors and silver.

Part of the reason Asia Pacific is more diverse in color is for the great variation of body types. Fresh shades can be seen in New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) especially more green and purple-influenced colors.

Overview Asia Pacific
As various new vehicles hit the roads, it is only natural that a more vibrant color palette would follow. With new automakers creating new vehicles in Asia, they are asking for something more than the usual color wheel. They want something bold and creative on their new designs, and young consumers appreciate those colors.
Chiharu Matsuhara

Chiharu Matsuhara

Head of Automotive Color Design for Asia Pacific

South America: Continues to be the region with the largest share of achromatic colors

South America historically has a conservative approach to colors, with a huge portion of achromatic colors in 2023. A total of 86% of new vehicles assembled in South America had either white, black, silver, or gray bodies, the most among all regions. The proportion of silver is also highest in South America.

With that kind of market, more and more automakers are choosing effects pigments to make the achromatic colors stand out. More cars were delivered with effects pigments in all body sizes compared to 2022.

Overview South America
Colors aren’t just colors any more. They are experiences.  Whether it’s a pearl or metal flake or other pigment, the effects make the color leap from the vehicle into the eyes of the beholder. It gives a certain flair that’s becoming more and more popular. 
Marcos Fernandes.png

Marcos Fernandes

Automotive Coatings Director for BASF South América