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Are white cars rare?

Are white cars rare?

White cars have long held a certain allure and prestige, conjuring images of luxury vehicles gliding along coastal highways. But just how common are white cars on the road today? Let’s take a closer look at the data on white car popularity and rarity.

Popularity of White Cars

White consistently ranks among the most popular car colors year after year. According to data from Axalta Coating Systems, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive paints, white was the most popular car color worldwide in 2021, accounting for 35% of cars produced. This marks the tenth consecutive year that white has taken the top spot globally.

In the United States, white was also the most popular color for cars in 2021, representing 32% of vehicles according to Axalta. It has held the #1 position in the US for the last four years running.

Other data backs up white’s popularity among American car buyers. According to Forbes, white made up 25.9% of new car sales in Q1 2022, beating out black at 25.3% and gray at 15.7%. And a survey by found white to be the most sought-after exterior color, with over 40% of respondents saying they would rather purchase a white vehicle.

So while personal taste varies widely, the data clearly shows that overall, white is consistently the most prevalent car color in production and sales year after year.

Regional Differences

Though white dominates globally and in the US market, its popularity varies by region. According to 2021 data from Axalta:

Region Most Popular Color Percentage
Europe White 29%
China White 45%
Japan White 31%
South Korea White 29%
India White 32%
South America White 39%

This shows white is popular globally, though its market share varies from 29% to 45% by region. It faces stiff competition from black and gray in European markets, while dominating Asian markets.

Historical Trends

White cars have not always been the most common sight on roads. In the early 1900s, black was the most popular color due to its faster drying time and ease of maintenance. As automotive paint technology improved, color offerings expanded in the 1920s. But darker hues still dominated, as consumer preference leaned masculine and conservative.

The 1950s brought increased personalization and self-expression to automobile styling. Pastels and lighter colors like turquoise and pink rose in popularity. White slowly gained market share through the 1960s and 70s, as sleek, modern aesthetics took hold in European luxury brands.

According to Axalta, white overtook silver in popularity in 2011 to become the #1 global color. It has only continued to increase its market lead since then. White’s clean, sophisticated look along with improved paint durability and ease of matching have cemented its place as the preferred car shade worldwide.

Rarity of White Cars

While white cars are common today, they are not always easy to find on dealership lots. Supply chain issues in recent years have led to low vehicle inventory overall. This restricts consumer choice and availability for all colors.

Some specific white car models are considered quite rare:

Pontiac White Lightning – Only 800 of these special-edition Pontiac Trans Ams were produced in 1992, featuring white paint with blue stripes. Only 15-25 are believed to exist today.

Volkswagen Golf R Harlequin – The 1996 Golf R came in a multicolor Harlequin edition, with only 264 produced in the color scheme that included white panels.

Subaru 22B STi – Only 424 of these high-performance Subarus were produced from 1998-1999. Only a handful were finished in white.

Vintage and classic white cars can also be challenging to find depending on model and condition. While not the rarest, white cars with desired specs and in good shape tend to attract high market values for collectors.

Future Outlook

Looking ahead, white is likely to maintain its status as the most popular car color worldwide in the near future. As aesthetic tastes evolve gradually, dramatic shifts seem unlikely.

However, there are factors that could erode white’s dominance:

Color innovation – Manufacturers are expanding into creative new effect pigments like pearl, matte, and gradient coats. This could make other shades more appealing.

Customization – More consumers want to personalize and stand out with unique colors. Automakers are offering greater color options and accents.

Self-driving transit – If private car ownership decreases with autonomous mobility adoption, commercial fleet colors could take over.

Augmented reality – AR/VR could enable altering vehicle appearance digitally, reducing focus on permanent exterior color.

Overall white seems poised to remain the most prevalent car shade, but its lead may narrow as consumer habits evolve. Regardless of color rankings, automotive preferences will continue to reflect innovations in technology, design, and changing personal taste.


In summary, while white cars are common on today’s roads, they are not universally popular or available. White consistently tops global and US color rankings and has gained market share steadily since the 1950s. But its prevalence varies by region, from 29% to 45% based on 2021 data. Some specific white models are quite rare, like special edition Pontiacs and Volkswagens. And while not the rarest, vintage white models tend to be valuable collector’s items. Looking ahead, white is likely to maintain its popularity but could face challenges from color innovation, customization, fleets, and virtual reality. So while white cars are ubiquitous today, their future dominance remains to be seen.