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Trends in Car Paint Colors in 2021

The paint color we choose for our cars reveals a lot about who we are. Color psychology influences many of our day-to-day decisions, including which cars we gravitate to and how those cars make us feel. So what do our car paint choices say about us? A red sports car communicates power and speed. A blue luxury vehicle signifies class and elegance. And while everyone has their own preferences for car paint colors, we see definite trends year to year. In this article, we’ll look at the trends in car paint colors for 2021 and how those colors affect maintenance and value and whether they will stand the test of time.  

Exterior Trends in Car Paint Colors

Take a look in any parking lot or on the freeway, and you’ll see a variety of cars and car colors. But you’ll notice that the majority of colors fall into the neutral palette. Whites, greys, and black have always been popular colors. But what other colors are car owners gravitating toward?

BASF’s color trend collection showcases new colors for 2021 that promote feelings of optimism and positivity. In recent years, car manufacturers have utilized silvers, greys, and blacks to highlight tech-focused thinking. The paint choices complimented sharp, angular designs. But this year, the industry is stepping away from a neutral palette to add more emotional, moody colors. We see bold, distinct colors that provide soothing and calming effects. The top colors exemplify environmental sensitivity, grace, simplicity, and a tranquil positivity. Below are some of BASF’s top car paint colors for 2021:

  • Dark Seltzer – a medium-dark gray shade
  • Redolent Red – a subtly-muted reddish brown
  • Abstraction Blue – a deep, rich blue

The above colors bring depth and class to the cars of 2021. Unlike past color pallets, these colors don’t give off a “look at me” vibe. They’re unique yet endure, making them appealing to prospective car buyers.

Timeless Car Color Choices

While there are a few new, exciting car paint colors rolling out over the next few years, statistics show that classics are classics for a reason. Among minivans, trucks, SUVs, sedans, and luxury cars, white, including pearl and metallic, is always the most popular choice. In fact, white made up between 25 and 35 percent of these car purchases. And according to Kelly Blue Book, white has reigned supreme among car paint colors for the last ten years.

Black and gray are also popular paint choices, taking second place behind white in the above categories. Statistically, roughly 50 percent of the vehicles bought in the last ten years are white, black, or gray. As new colors come on the scene in 2021, it’s important to remember that the classic colors—white, black, and gray—will remain popular even as trends come and go.

Car Paint Textures

New paint colors aren’t the only design options car buyers have to consider. This year, designers and manufactures are focusing on car paint textures as well. Textured paints give car owners a tactile experience as well as a visual one. Today’s drivers want to express themselves through what they drive. It’s no longer only about getting from point A to point B. Now you have the opportunity to own a car that tells a story. And with textured finishes, you can add another dimension to your car’s look and feel.

Car Colors and Resale Value

When purchasing a car, you might consider how the car will retain its value over the years so that when you’re ready to sell, you can get a fair price for your vehicle. With the new trending car paint colors for 2021, resale value based on color shouldn’t be an issue. The deep, darker hues have become the new normal on American roads. The Dark Seltzer is a modern iteration of the timeless gray, which has been a popular car color for years. In the same way, Redolent Red and Abstraction Blue are redesigned colors that American car owners have loved for decades

Unlike bold, in-your-face car colors like canary yellow, the trending car colors for 2021 are exciting without being too flashy. The colors convey a classic vibe that will help cars retain value for resale into the future.

Car Colors that are Easy to Maintain

Without a doubt, neutral car paint colors are the easiest to maintain and keep clean. These shades show less dirt, grime, and water spots than other color options. The ever-popular silver and gray colors consistently look better for a longer time after a wash or detail. This makes the Dark Seltzer color of 2021 especially attractive to car buyer who don’t want to keep a consistent detail schedule for their vehicle. Dark Seltzer and other similar shades look great even if it’s been a few weeks since they’ve been washed.


The 2021 car paint color trends blend the old with the new. The three popular North American colors, Dark Seltzer, Redolent Red, and Abstraction Blue, give consumers something familiar while simultaneously taking them into the future of car design. We’re leaving the techno-centric colors of the 2010s and heading toward colors that symbolize our environmental concern and our emotional connection with our vehicles and the world around us. Car paint colors have come full circle to include hues—and now textures—that speak to the buyer and communicate an identity unlike ever before.

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