These Were The Most Popular Car Colors In 2021

If it feels like you're seeing more white, gray, or two-tone cars on the road these days, it's not necessarily your imagination. Paints and coatings manufacturer PPG has released its 2021 automotive popularity report, and with it, we get to see a breakdown of the most popular car colors around the world. Not only that, but PPG provided at least some information on which colors have grown in popularity and which have fallen.

While the overall results of the report may not surprise you — spoiler: white and black are still popular choices for car colors — some of the finer details might. In its report, PPG argues that two-tone color schemes are rising in popularity among the masses, though as a whole they still represent a small share of the overall market. While no single color surged or dropped dramatically in popularity year-over-year, there is one that's made more gains in the hearts of drivers than all the rest, at least according to the company's numbers

Two-tone color schemes are making a comeback

Interestingly enough, PPG leads its report by claiming that two-tone color schemes are making a comeback, though perhaps at the risk of overstating how popular they were last year. According to PPG, 2021 saw "increased demand for two-tone finishes, personalized colors and other emerging trends among car buyers." Those other emerging trends would be things like tinted clearcoats, matte finishes, and special-order colors, according to Misty Yeomans, who serves as PPG's automotive OEM color styling manager for the Americas.

Looking at the data, though, PPG says that two-tone and other colors or finishes only accounted for 1% of the market in 2021 model year cars, so while they may be emerging as preferred styles among drivers, they still have a long way to go before they can be considered popular. Still, PPG has some stake in suggesting two-tone color schemes are on the rise, as it points out in its announcement that it offers a "breakthrough application technology that produces crisp paint edges without the use of masking and other time-intensive steps."

White comes out on top and it isn't even close

It's common to hear warnings against buying white cars for fear of having to clean them frequently, but it seems many people are ignoring that advice. According to PPG's report, a whopping 35% of the 2021 model year cars sold around the globe were white, putting the color well ahead of any other option. Not only did white finish in a decisive first place, but its popularity even grew by 1% year-over-year.

Black came in second with 18% of the market, while gray was arguably the biggest surprise of the report, coming in with a 14% share and increasing 2% in popularity on the year. Silver was the final color to capture a double-digit percentage of the market at 11% (a decrease of 1%).

Though colors like blue, red, and natural tones decreased in popularity slightly, PPG said there's been an increase in demand for more vibrant colors, which are more likely to be seen on sporty cars. Indeed, breaking down the colors by segment (which you can see above), sports and compact cars were sold in blue far more often than trucks and SUVs in North America.

It'll be interesting to see how things continue to shift in 2022. Will this emerging preference for two-tone cars continue to grow, or will it prove to be just a blip on the radar as people return to solid and metallic colors?