NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - In its annual Color Popularity Report, DuPont Automotive reports that silver, the choice for 20.2 percent of new cars, was North America's most popular car color for 2003. White, the color on 18.4 percent of new cars, came in second. Black ranked third at nearly 12 percent.
The rankings are based on the portion of cars manufactured in North America that are painted in each color. Auto manufacturing plants are acutely aware of day-to-day consumer sales, said Terrence Cressy, marketing manager for DuPont Automotive. Color changes can be made quickly in response to the most recent sales figures, he said. So, numbers of cars manufactured in each color provide an excellent indication of actual popularity.
Silver actually dropped in popularity from last year, while white moved up, but not enough to take the top spot. Medium-dark gray was the big mover, moving up 4.5 percent overall in North America. It went from sixth to become the favorite color choice in the luxury segment in North America, a segment that often indicates future trends in vehicle colors. Overall, it was the fourth most popular color.
"Medium-dark grays, enhanced with coarser metallic effects, retain the technical sophistication of silver while providing a sense of richness and value to differentiate new vehicle models from the mainstream," said Rover Daily, automotive color marketing manager for DuPont.
Medium-dark green, a perennial color leader in the 1990s under names like Hunter Green and Forest Green, dropped out of the top-10 color choice list for luxury cars. It still made moderate gains in the full/intermediate SUV/truck/van segments, however. Reds, updated with slightly cooler, bluish hues or made more brilliant, remain popular with consumers, according to a statement from DuPont.