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What is the least popular car color?

What is the least popular car color?

When buying a new car, one of the many decisions to make is choosing the color. While preferences vary from person to person, some car colors tend to be more commonly purchased than others. So which color is the least popular among new car buyers today? Let’s take a look at the data and trends around new car color popularity.

Automakers offer new cars in a wide range of exterior color options, from basic black and white to bold oranges and blues. But not all colors are created equal when it comes to popularity. The most popular car colors tend to be fairly neutral and versatile shades like black, white, gray, silver, and blue. On the other end of the spectrum, more niche colors like brown, gold, orange, purple, and yellow make up a very small percentage of new car sales.

Over the past decade or two, new car color choices have expanded greatly. In the 1950s and 60s for instance, car color options were far more limited. But today’s automotive paint technologies allow for a huge variety of colors, with automakers constantly introducing new limited edition and custom colors. This explosion of color choice has led to consumers being able to express more personal style through their car’s exterior color.

However, when we look at the most recent industry data on the new car market, there is still a very clear hierarchy of color popularity. While increased options have satisfied niche demands for unusual colors, the most popular shades continue to dominate by a large margin.

So which color sits at the bottom of the popularity chart? Let’s analyze the leading industry data sources to find out.

Axalta’s 2022 Global Automotive Color Popularity Report

Axalta Coating Systems releases an annual report tracking consumer automotive color preferences across key global markets. Their 2022 report provides a comprehensive overview of new car color trends and rankings.

According to Axalta’s analysis, the least popular color globally for new cars in 2022 was brown. Here were the bottom 5 color choices by global market share:

Rank Color Market Share
10 Brown 1%
9 Orange 2%
8 Purple 2%
7 Yellow/Gold 2%
6 Green 3%

As you can see, brown came in last place with only 1% of the global new car market choosing it as an exterior color. The top 5 most popular colors globally were white (35%), black (19%), gray (18%), silver (12%), and blue (10%).

The story was very similar in North America, where brown was also the least popular color with a 1% market share. White, black, gray, silver, and blue made up the top 5 again in North America, with slightly different order and percentages. But brown consistently sat at the very bottom of consumer color preferences.

Factors Contributing to Brown’s Unpopularity

So what makes brown the least desired color choice for new car buyers? There are a few likely factors:

– **Lack of versatility** – Compared to more neutral shades like white, black, gray, and silver, brown does not compliment a wide range of car styles and models. It has a narrower versatility.

– **Dirt visibility** – Brown inevitably shows dirt, mud, dust, and road debris more visibly than lighter colors. Keeping a brown vehicle looking clean requires more frequent washing and detailing.

– **Visual weight** – On the color spectrum, brown is a darker, heavier shade. For larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs, brown can make them look more bulky and imposing.

– **Old associations** – The color brown may subconsciously tie to old, dated vehicles for some consumers. It lacks the modern, sleek feel of today’s top car colors.

– **Low resale value** – Industry analysis shows that cars painted in brown colors tend to have lower resale values down the road compared to more popular shades. This can deter buyers focused on long term value.

So in summary, brown’s low new car popularity stems from its darker, heavier look, maintenance challenges, limited versatility, and lack of modern appeal for today’s consumers. It has not yet benefited from any revived retro appreciation.

Historical Trends and Future Outlook

Looking further back, brown has consistently been an unpopular automotive color choice for decades. But it hasn’t always been at the very bottom of the rankings.

In the 2000s and earlier, brown outranked other niche colors like gold, orange, purple, and green in terms of new car market share. Its popularity sunk below those shades more recently.

Industry experts do not foresee brown making any comeback soon when it comes to new car buyer preferences. However, some analysts think brown could benefit from vintage and retro trends, like what happened with colors like forest green on muscle cars. For now though, brown remains anchored at the very bottom of the color popularity ladder without signs of growth.

How Unpopular is Brown Really?

Given its tiny 1% market share globally and in North America, brown is clearly a very unpopular new car color choice today. But analyzing further, we can see:

– On average, ~1 million new cars sold each year are brown
– Around 1 in 100 new car buyers choose brown
– Less than 2% of new car models offer brown, mostly trucks/SUVs
– There are over ~30 million brown cars on U.S. roads, most over 10 years old

So while popular compared to exotic colors like lime green or bright pink, brown is a distinctly niche choice for today’s buyers. For automakers and dealers, stocking brown vehicles is likely to result in slow turnover compared to hotter selling neutral colors.

For the small minority of consumers who like the look of brown, limited supply leads to fewer choices. But some luxury brands like Land Rover and Rolls-Royce offer browns on higher end models, catering to that niche demand.


When analyzing the most reputable and comprehensive data on new car color popularity around the world, brown consistently comes in last place by a clear margin. Buyer preferences heavily skew towards versatile neutral shades like white, black, gray, silver, and blue that compliment a wide range of vehicle styles.

More niche colors like browns, oranges, purples, and yellows/golds combined make up less than 10% of the market. Brown sits at the bottom of that niche group with only 1% market share globally and in North America.

Factors contributing to brown’s low popularity include its narrow versatility, maintenance challenges, visual weight, dated associations, and weaker long term value compared to rival colors. While tastes will vary between individuals, industry data confirms brown as objectively the least popular color choice for new car buyers today and in the foreseeable future.