23 March 2017

BASF analyzes 2016 color trends in the European automotive sector

  • Color diversity and individuality are key topics
  • Blue still the most popular chromatic color

BASF's Coatings division, the European market leader on color development for automotive OEM coatings, presents the new “BASF European Color Report For Automotive OEM Coatings”. The report provides detailed insights into the colors sported by the cars on Europe's roads. It also highlights end customers' growing need for individuality expressed by special effects and a variety of colors.

White is still the most popular car color in Europe, with a share of 29 percent, followed by black with 19 percent and gray with 18 percent. Nearly 80 percent of the automotive colors in 2016 belong to the achromatic color range. Among the chromatic colors, blue continues to be the most popular color, with 10 percent, followed by red and brown. When the vehicle segments are compared, the following differences are observed: While small cars are often finished in white or chromatic colors, for SUVs, gray is the predominant color.

Although the distribution of colors in 2016 remained nearly constant, there was an increase in the color diversity within the color ranges. The reasons for this are the ongoing development of new colors, as well as the high demand for special effects across the board. Mixing existing colors with different effect particles produces customized pearl or metallic effects. The wide range of possible combinations gives rise to an extraordinary abundance of color variations. "This wide range of possibilities for car colors also goes hand in hand with the social megatrend toward individualization. Nowadays, end customers are able to select unique, personalized colors for their cars," said Stefan Sickert, head of Project Management Basecoat. In addition to helping individualize a car, effects also accentuate the body shape and thus highlight the vehicle's character. Blue is the leading color in terms of diversity with over 100 color variations. Gray is close behind with some 90 different shades.

With the analysis of the distribution of automotive colors in Europe, BASF's European Color Report supplements the facts contained in the Automotive Color Trends published annually by BASF's Coatings division. While the trend collection presents color concepts that will shape the automotive future, the Color Report is concerned with the present-day market situation and thus refers to the data of the previous year.
» Download “BASF European Color Report For Automotive OEM Coatings“

About BASF’s Coatings division
The Coatings division of BASF is a global expert in the development, production and marketing of innovative and sustainable automotive OEM and refinish coatings, industrial coatings and decorative paints. We create advanced performance solutions and drive performance, design and new applications to meet our partners’ needs all over the world. BASF shares skills, knowledge and resources of interdisciplinary and global teams for the benefit of customers by operating a collaborative network of sites in Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific. In 2016, the Coatings division achieved global sales of about €3.2 billion.

In 2016, BASF acquired Chemetall, a leading global supplier of applied surface treatments for metal, plastic and glass substrates in a wide range of industries and end markets. With this expansion in portfolio, BASF becomes a more complete solution provider for coatings.

Solutions beyond your imagination – Coatings by BASF. For more information about the Coatings division of BASF and its products, visit

About BASF
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 114,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of about €58 billion in 2016. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at


Last Update 23 March 2017