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What is the least common color for cars?

What is the least common color for cars?

When considering purchasing a new or used car, buyers have a wide variety of colors to choose from for the vehicle’s exterior paint. While white, black, gray, and silver tend to dominate new car sales, automakers offer many vibrant hues to appeal to different tastes. But of all the color options available, which is the least commonly selected by car buyers?

Examining New Car Color Trends

Industry data on new car color popularity can provide insight into the least common car colors. Automotive paint supplier Axalta Coating Systems releases an annual report on consumer preferences for new car colors based on their global survey of car manufacturers. Their most recent 2022 Global Automotive Color Popularity Report highlights white as the top color worldwide, accounting for 35% of new cars produced. Black and gray are next at 18% each, followed by silver at 13%. Red is 5th at 9% share. Blue and brown are further down the list at 6% and 1% respectively. The remaining colors combined such as green, purple, orange, yellow and gold account for just 3% of new cars produced globally.

Looking specifically at North American car buyers, white again leads at 26%, with black a close second at 23%. Gray and silver are tied for third with 15% share each. Red follows at 9%, while blue is at 7%. Just 1% of North American cars are brown, and the other colors combined represent only 4%.

Based on this data, brown is clearly the least popular color choice for new cars in North America, capturing just 1% market share. The top six colors of white, black, gray, silver, red, and blue make up 95% of new car production. Any other colors outside of these fall into a niche category and can be considered rare choices amongst car buyers.

Factors Influencing Car Color Popularity

There are several reasons why brown has remained an unpopular car color compared to more common options like white or black:

  • Aesthetics – Brown is considered dull or boring to many car buyers who prefer brighter, sleeker, or more stylish colors.
  • Resale value – Car resale data shows brown vehicles tend to depreciate faster than popular colors like white or silver.
  • Limited options – Very few car models offer brown as a color choice compared to other hues.
  • Dirt visibility – Brown shows dirt, road grime, and imperfections more visibly than lighter colors.

Conversely, mainstream colors like white have mass appeal and are easy to match accessories to. Black is viewed as stylish and sophisticated. Silvers and grays hide dirt well while lending a modern, high-tech look. Overall, brown has failed to shake its stigma as an unexciting and outdated car color for many buyers.

Historical Trends for Brown Cars

While brown is unpopular today, it actually experienced higher demand in previous decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, earth tones and natural colors grew in prominence amongst car buyers. Axalta’s report notes brown was one of the top six most popular colors in America throughout this period. It peaked in popularity in 1988 at 9.4% market share in the US before declining again in the 1990s. The 1990s saw a shift towards more tech-inspired neutral silvers, grays, and whites that hid dirt better and offered flexible pairing. By 2000, brown fell below 2% share and never recovered significant demand.

Some car manufacturers also phased out brown over time due to declining interest. For example, it was last offered on the Ford F-150 in the mid 2000s before being cut. Today it remains mainly a niche choice, confined to select luxury or vintage-inspired vehicle models.

Current Vehicles Offering Brown

Although rare overall, brown is still available as an option on some new cars and trucks today. Here are some of the few current models offering brown paint colors:

Make Model Brown Color Name
Toyota 4Runner Carmel
Land Rover Defender Aintree Green
Ford Bronco Area 51
Ram 1500 Walnut Brown
Jeep Wrangler Nacho
Hyundai Kona Dark Brown

Most of these follow an earthy or vintage-inspired naming theme for their brown tones like Carmel, Nacho, or Walnut Brown. They are also mainly rugged SUVs or trucks as opposed to sedans. The Land Rover Defender offers one of the most uniquely named browns, Aintree Green, tying to the British motorsport history of the brand. Overall, brown remains mostly a novelty color for specific models catering to niche buyers rather than mainstream demand.

Future Outlook for Brown Cars

The future outlook for brown cars remains low in the near term absent a major shift in consumer tastes. As technology advances like augmented reality, digital displays, and autonomy come to cars, exteriors could become less important to buyers who are less focused on driving. However, cultural associations with brown being dull or dirty will be difficult to overcome. Younger generations tend to prefer vibrant, personalized colors rather than earth tones. One trend that could make brown more popular is automakers allowing greater customization and unique exterior designs to attract buyers. If brown is offered as one option in a wide color palette for personalized vehicles, it may gain some traction. For now, brown is likely to remain a rare bird in the automotive world.


Based on current industry data, brown is the least popular color choice for new car buyers, capturing only 1% of the North American market. Factors like its dull and dirty associations continue to limit mainstream appeal. While it experienced higher demand in the 1970s and 80s, brown fell out of favor as neutral tones like silver and white rose to prominence in the 1990s and 2000s. It persists mainly as a niche choice for select truck and SUV models catering to vintage or rugged aesthetics. For the majority of car buyers today, brown fails to capture their imagination and interest compared to brighter, sleeker, or more stylish colors. The unexciting stigma around brown continues to relegate it to the bottom of the automotive color spectrum for the foreseeable future.