White remains the most popular color choice for car shoppers across the globe for the second straight year, according to an annual survey released Wednesday. But its stay at the top may be ending soon.

Twenty-two percent of global car buyers chose white cars in 2012, reports PPG Industries. White was followed by silver in second place (20 percent), black (19 percent) and gray (12 percent). In North America, the results were largely the same, with white taking 21 percent of all sales, followed by black (19 percent), silver (16 percent) and gray (16 percent).

But the use of color is on the rise, PPG forecasts.

"Color is one of the first characteristics noticed in product design, and it is increasingly being used in everyday items, from cell phones to large appliances, based largely on automotive trends," said Jane E. Harrington, PPG manager of color styling for automotive OEM coatings.

PPG has 20 color experts and six color-styling laboratories around the globe, and hosts an Automotive Color Trend Show each September. At its latest conference, the company presented automakers with 64 new potential exterior colors for their 2015-16 models.

Among them: Al Fresco, a silver metallic with a fresh green tint; Victoria Grey, a classic grey with "an iridescent highlight of gold metal; and Opulence, a refined red pearl with intense jewel tone.

"Our consumer research has clearly shown that color is critically important to car buyers," Harrington said.

In an earlier survey of automotive buyers conducted in 2011, PPG said that 77 percent of respondents said that exterior color was a factor in their automotive purchase decisions.


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