Which Color You Want for Your Car?

Despite an array of bright, vibrant car colors, U.S. customers on the coasts and customers in most European countries prefer the classic core colors – white, black, silver and gray.

Gray and silver are most popular in New York and Los Angeles. San Franciscans like white and Bostonians like black.

Only one country in Europe has a top color other than white, black or silver: The Czech Republic chooses blue.

These findings are from Ford’s annual look at U.S. car buying preferences as well as an international color study by Du Pont.

“The trend continues to be toward core colors – the classics,” said Susan Swek, Ford’s group chief designer for Color and Materials. “We strive within Ford to achieve the best black, silver, white and gray. We’re always working to make them even more appealing.”

Paint, she said, is no different from clothing when it comes to color and style. 

“The classics are continually upgraded – and always with a modern twist,” Swek said. “In Europe, we’ve added tri-coat pearl technology to give gray-scale colors a glimmer. And in North America we are creating more tinted clear coats for a rich, luscious effect.”

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A new core color, Silver Diamond PC (for premium colorant), takes silver to a whole new dimension with an “elegant, liquidy look,” explained Color Designer Jon Hall.

“We’re generally paying more attention to fundamental colors,” Hall said. “They are 60 percent of the global market. Cars and trucks are a major purchase, and customers think of things like resale value and the fact that they want to be seen in the vehicle for the next few years.”

Meanwhile, in other parts of the U.S., customers have different preferences. Red is popular in the Midwest. Drivers in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh like green. And Phoenix and Miami customers like warm colors – orange and gold.

Across the ocean, tastes tend to be equally as diverse: French and Italian motorists like cream-colored vehicles, not a surprise given their cafe cultures. The Irish like silver. Customers in Denmark prefer black, while those in Belgium like gray.

Vehicle owners everywhere use color choice to convey messages about themselves, says Julie Francis, of the European Color and Materials team.

“There is something very personal to buyers about the color of their cars,” said Francis. “When you look at the culture, you can see how fashion and other tastes influence the colors customers choose.”

Nearly 50 percent of all vehicles sold in Turkey are white. Black is the color of choice for most drivers in Norway, Portugal, Germany and Russia. And, besides Ireland, Romania, Finland, Poland and Sweden chose silver more times than not.

“Red used to be, far and away, the most popular color,” said Vince Show, Marketing and Product Strategy manager for Ford of Europe. “White is in the ascendancy now. Dark grays, blacks and blues are popular, as they are in men or women’s clothing.”

“It’s important to get the right color into the market at the right time,” Swek said. “Too early, and it won’t have registered on customers’ radar. Too late, and the popularity of a particular color may have already reached its peak.”

The findings were released by the Ford Motor Company Friday, April 22.

RMN News

Rakesh Raman