For the second year in a row, white is the No.1 color being worn by North American-built vehicles, coatings supplier DuPont Automotive says.

The finding is part of DuPont's 56th annual Automotive Color Popularity Report, which looks at trends for vehicles produced in a single model year.

Some 16% of '08 vehicles built in North America were white, DuPont says. Adding in cars and trucks wearing white-pearl paint finishes, which accounted for 4% of all vehicles produced, pushes white penetration to 20% of the '08 vehicle mix in North America.

White also was found to be the top choice in India and Japan, DuPont says, adding the color tied with black for first place in Mexico and gained a bit in popularity in Europe.

“There is a continuing convergence of color choice globally, with color preferences becoming more homogeneous across the globe,” DuPont says in a statement.

The emergence of white is indicative of a “palette cleaning,” meaning the color, or non-color, is holding the top spot for the next hot trend, the supplier says. The popularity of white has followed silver's 7-year reign in North America at the top of the Automotive Color Popularity Report.

Still, silver continues to have its fans, placing third in North America among '08 models, with a 17% share. Silver remains far and away the No.1 choice for vehicles built in Russia (30%), South Korea (50%) and China (32%) for '08. In the latter two countries, the number of vehicles painted silver grew 11% and 9%, respectively, from '07.

Paints incorporating “effects,” or a pearl or iridescent appearance, are gaining popularity, says Karen Surcina, color marketing manager-DuPont Performance Coatings.

Vehicle paints with effects or tri-coat finishes (a mixture of a base layer, colored mid-layer with specialized effect pigments and clear coat), “provide a higher degree of customization and luxury-effect, which allow consumers a conservative differentiation from the traditional color palette,” Surcina says in a statement.

DuPont says there is a world beyond cars painted white, silver and black, the latter ranked No.2 in North America and No.1 in Europe for '08.

Blue is becoming the next hot color trend, it says, due to its association with the environment.

Blue garnered a 13% share in North America for '08, DuPont says, and is a top-five color in every automotive market barring Brazil.

DuPont's “Time for Color” forecast for the auto industry divides future color trends into four themes this year: morning, midday, evening and night.

Morning colors include those that are “pale and purist.” Middays are “vividly colored, optimistic in appearance and enrich the growing small-car market.” Evening colors are in the middle range with “multicolor effects and unusual shades.” Night colors are deep-tinted darks “with illusionist luster” that will be popular on premium vehicles.