Henry Ford famously said that “any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black”.
Today, the choice of car colours is almost infinite; it’s even possible to order a car to match the colour of your preferred nail polish.
And, while the colour black remains popular in South Africa, it pales into insignificance when compared to the most popular colour choice for South Africans: white.
This finding has been gleaned from an analysis of cars sold on AutoTrader during the 2019 calendar year. As South Africa’s largest automotive digital marketplace, the website can provide unique and highly accurate insight into consumer buying patterns.
According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, white is by far the most popular car colour in this country.
He says: “It accounts for more sales than the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth most popular car colours combined.”
A global favourite
South Africans aren’t the only motorists who favour white cars; according to Axalta’s 2019 Annual Global Automotive Color Popularity Report, white was also the most popular colour worldwide during 20191. White proved to be especially popular in Asia, Africa and South America last year. According to the Axalta Report, some 49% of cars sold in Asia during 2019 were white. In Africa and South America, 46% and 42% were white respectively.
According to Mienie, white is popular for a variety of reasons. He explains: “It’s obviously better than a darker car colour in the heat, it retains its resale value and it’s also easy to repair."
Image: Wheels24 / Janine vd Post
In South Africa, silver was the second most popular colour in 2019, followed by grey, blue and red.
Mienie adds: “This is different to the global preferences, where black was the second most popular colour in 2019, followed by grey, silver and blue." In contrast to the global rankings, black was relegated to sixth spot in South Africa during 2019.
There are anomalies when comparing South African versus global buying patterns. Mienie concludes: “Green is fairly popular internationally, ranking number nine. And it doesn’t feature here in South Africa."