The Most Popular Car Colors for 2021

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The colors that consumers select when car shopping are reflections of their personalities and tastes. Some prefer bright hues to show their love of fun and zest for life. Others like conservative, elegant shades that better reflect their belief that less is more. 

And like seasonal colors in the fashion industry, vehicle colors go in and out of style. There will always be black, gray, and silver cars. But what are the most popular colors for 2021?

Car colors of today

Car colors today don’t have the same dramatic flair they had in decades past. According to Forbes, 72 percent of new cars worldwide are black, gray, or white. That’s the finding of the Global Automotive 2020 Color Popularity Report, published by Axalta Coating Systems, a company specializing in industrial paint applications.

According to the report, 48 percent of Asian cars are painted white. The use of gray was up 2 percent worldwide, a 10-year-high for the color. The trends extend to North America, where 30 percent of vehicles are white, 19 percent are black, 19 percent are gray, and 10 percent are silver. If you combine silver and gray, you have a close runner-up to white.

Which hues are in and out in 2021

Automakers tend to offer what they call “hero colors” for a handful of years. These hues are eye-catching and bright, such as the Midnight Plum offered with the now-discontinued Honda Fit. The automaker offered that eggplant color until 2017. But according to Honda spokesman Chris Naughton, vehicles in “hero colors” don’t sell as well.

PPG Industries, a global producer of coatings and paints, conducted a survey in 2019. It showed that only 8 percent of vehicles sold were blue and red. And only 1 percent of buyers choose green.

So, what are the big colors for 2021 in the U.S.? Blues, grays, and reds will be the thing, with names like Abstraction Blue, Dark Seltzer, and Redolent Red. Beyond that, America is likely to stick to its taste for darker, conservative colors. Blacked-out models, such as Toyota’s Nightshade Edition, will also remain popular this year.

Looking at the global picture, Dark Seltzer, a dark-gray tone, will also be a thing. So will Pundits Solution, a warm beige with gold flecks, and Social Camouflage, a subtle gray-green.

No dramatic changes are expected in 2021, and it makes sense considering how 2020 went for the world with the pandemic. The trends point to more than just colors this year. They indicate an increased interest in styling cues, small details, and textures.

And the craziest colors are …

Regardless of trends, there are always rebels. The 2021 BMW 8 Series offers a new color, Birch Green. While some automakers call this color Apple Green or Chartreuse, it looks radioactive, and it definitely stands out. The M8 convertible, in particular, looks sharp in the new color that’s bound to glow in the dark.

Next is pink. You’re probably envisioning a ’50s Cadillac or pink Mary Kay rides. But the color is Frozen Berry Metallic, and you can get it on the 2021 Porsche Taycan. It’s not the color of a Barbie car. It’s a muted pink-gray that surprisingly doesn’t throw off strictly feminine vibes. Just as some men have no issues wearing a pink tie or shirt, they may have no problem driving a pink Taycan either. 

How will these wildcard colors do? Only time will tell. 

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