Axalta Survey Reveals Color is Key Factor in Most Vehicle Purchasing Decisions

Axalta Survey Reveals Color Key Factor in Vehicle Purchases

More than 4,000 participants aged 25 to 60 in four of the largest vehicle-producing countries responded that color was a key factor in 88% of vehicle purchasing decisions.

Axalta announced it has released its Automotive Color Preferences 2021 Consumer Survey aimed at analyzing the relationship between color and vehicle purchasing decisions among consumers. More than 4,000 participants aged 25 to 60 in four of the largest vehicle-producing countries – China, Germany, Mexico and the U.S. – responded that color was a key factor in 88% of vehicle purchasing decisions.

“The psychology of color is a powerful influencing factor in automotive purchasing decisions,” said Nancy Lockhart, global color manager, Mobility Coatings at Axalta. “Frequently, color reflects the personality of the vehicle owner. What’s interesting is that elegance, stability and positivity were predominant color characteristics desired by respondents surveyed.”

The survey analyzed the colors consumers wanted on their vehicles to understand potential future trends. While consumers may prefer or desire a variety of colors, individual preferences showed differences from country to country.

The survey also explored paint finish and paint effect preferences. High-gloss finishes were clearly preferred by all markets surveyed except for China. There, results showed a near-even split between high-gloss and matte finishes (48% high gloss vs. 52% matte). Paint effect preferences across the surveyed markets were not as similar as results for paint finish preferences. Solid effects were the top choice of respondents in the U.S. and China, whereas German respondents chose pearlescent and Mexico chose coarse metallic and pearlescent as their preferred paint effects.

Axalta designs colors to meet the needs of automotive consumers around the world. The changing dynamics in color preferences between countries and vehicle types are studied to best forecast for future models.

“The development of unique and new colors that meet the needs of our customers’ brands and consumer preferences is a key factor in understanding market trends,” said Lockhart. “It is exciting to see how bolder colors are becoming more and more popular in the minds of consumers. Reds and blues are clearly rising in preference. It’s possible we’ll see more colors on the road with brilliant effects in the not too distant future.”

For 68 years, Axalta has compiled and published the annual Color Popularity Report, the auto industry’s bellwether of car colors on the road based on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sales. Axalta’s Consumer Automotive Color Preferences Survey builds on that color leadership and expertise, providing fresh perspectives and insights from automotive consumers on color and paint relevance.

Survey highlights by country include:

  • China: Color is important for 99% of respondents in China when purchasing a vehicle. The preferred colors are white (29%) and black (26%). Red and blue ranked fifth and sixth. Of those surveyed, 64% would change manufacturers if they didn’t find their preferred color. Among these respondents, 93% are the sole decision-maker of the vehicle color purchased, while 7% rely on others to assist in the decision.
  • Germany: Of those surveyed in Germany, 83% said color is important when purchasing a vehicle. With 63% of respondents being the sole decision-maker about the vehicle’s color, 37% confer with family in the decision-making process. Black is the preferred color with 32%, while blue came in second with 16%. German participants consider black as a color that reflects elegance and blue reflects stability. In this region of the world, slightly more than one-quarter of survey respondents (27%) own a black compact vehicle.
  • Mexico: For 90% of respondents in Mexico, color is a key factor when purchasing a vehicle. Red is the preferred color with 22% and is the top selection for both genders. Four out of 10 people surveyed in Mexico mentioned they would change manufacturers if they didn’t find the color for which they are looking. 64% of the participants reported owning sedan model cars. Red reflects an elegant personality and blue reflects positivity according to survey respondents in Mexico.
  • U.S.: Color is an important factor when purchasing a vehicle for 79% of American respondents; nearly half of all respondents (46%) state color is very or extremely important. Of those surveyed, 82% of respondents in the United States say vehicle color is an individual decision and 53% of households have more than one vehicle. Although black is an overall trend, truck owners are choosing more colorful versions of blue (No. 2) and red (No. 3). Blue reflects positivity and red represents a sense of adventure in the minds of survey respondents in the U.S.

For more information about Axalta’s Automotive Color Preferences 2021 Consumer Survey or country-specific survey findings, visit

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