Automobile buyers are choosing lighter car color shades in North America, according to GM coating supplier BASF, which just released its 2023 BASF Color Report for Automotive OEM Coatings, with silver tones edging out gray in the popular achromatic lineup.
The study indicates the achromatic car color choices – white, black, gray, and silver – are still the most popular options both in North America and worldwide, but the specific palette buyers prefer is changing.
Car color preferences are getting even more achromatic in North America, with these colors gaining two percent from the previous year. The company’s North American color designer Elizabeth Hoffmann remarked that ” lighter shades are getting more popular, taking market share from gray,” though she also noted “more and more choices have effects pigments to give them intensity and excitement.”
Silver accounted for 14 percent of car color for new cars purchased in 2023, solidly outperforming gray at 10 percent. White still has the largest percentage at 34 percent, with black trailing but catching up at 22 percent. Among the chromatic colors, blue is still outperforming red at 9 percent and 8 percent respectively.
GM’s current car color lineup has several light gray or silver colors available, including two for the Chevy Corvette:
- Ceramic Matrix Gray Metallic (color code G9F)
- Silver Flare Metallic (GSJ)
Meanwhile, a single color in the category is offered across The General’s overall model lines, with the same color known by various color names among the automaker’s four brands:
- Sterling Gray Metallic (GXD) for Chevy
- Sterling Metallic (GXD) for GMC
- Moonstone Gray Metallic (GXD) for Buick
- Argent Silver Metallic (GXD) for Cadillac
Interestingly, BASF also showed a light chromatic color, a pale green tint it called Electronic Citrus, in its 2023-2024 “On Volude” passenger vehicle color trends collection. This color bears some resemblance to the Cacti Green (color code GVR) paint GM made available on the 2024 Chevy Trax starting in April 2023 and announced for the 2024 Chevy Corvette in November, suggesting The General may be paying attention to its coating supplier’s color trends research.
As noted earlier, BASF says effects pigments are also becoming more popular, and could be added to light colors such as silver just as readily as darker hues. Marcos Fernandes of BASF says “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.”
Fernandes added, “colors aren’t just colors any more. They are experiences.”