GM director Jennifer Widrick has recently verbalized an emerging trend. Diverse car painting colors are finally coming back to the market after so many years of austerity
Next time you are on the street, pay attention to the colors of the cars. Chances are that black, silver and white are the most common ones. Perhaps you will see some red and gray ones as well. Anything beyond that will surely be rare. Have you ever wondered why the automotive world is so limited in that regard?
If you are young enough not to be surprised with so few options, ask around. Up to the 1970s, car colors were so numerous that choosing one was a real challenge. While there are valid reasons for customers to focus on austere shades, the fact that cool car colors are coming back is definitely worthy of celebration.
Most common car colors
Let us start by presenting the status quo. The main reason why people choose austere colors is car resale value. We may not truly like black or silver, but it is easier for us to accept a car in those colors than yellow or pink. That tendency is more common among customers who buy city cars, especially low-cost models.
Insurance premiums play an important role too, but there is not a magically cheapest color car to insure as most people usually think. What happens is that popular colors imply high demand and high prices, while unique car colors make them easily noticeable. Both factors make a car more likely to be targeted.
Moving on to niche topics, we can mention custom paint jobs. Exclusive paint colors and decals make any limited edition more desirable, of course. However, they take a toll in terms of maintenance because it will be harder to replicate them in the event of repairs. Besides that, they also make the car more noticeable.
Flashy colors of car paint
While those arguments make total sense, it is easy to play devil’s advocate: we like unique colors for cars. We appreciate them in clothes, pictures, and interior design. We even have one or a few personal favorite ones. And we usually like the car we drive. It is natural that we would like those colors in our cars as well.
Carmakers know that, of course. People like GM director Jennifer Widrick continuously research the latest trends. Their goal is to balance our emotional wants with the market’s rules because we all want desirable cars. The difference is that, over the past years, they are learning how to skew that balance towards us.
The most common action to that end is integrating colors with the car’s identity. Skoda, for example, uses green with the same enthusiasm as Ferrari uses red. By consistently applying it on its cars and on its entire appearance, the company normalizes cool colors. People feel encouraged to try one at the next purchase.
New paint colors for cars
Widrick indicates that unique car colors are coming back, yes, but in a new way. Carmakers are no longer offering options just for the sake of it. They are researching which ones suit the car and the brand’s image while fitting the audience’s tastes. It is common that the available options vary from country to country.
The “floating roof” design trend is also helping shape this new moment. Depending on the car, customers can choose a flashy color for the body and black or white for the roof or vice-versa. Doing so prevents the commitment to one color, which is important to make the customer feel more confident to try new ones.
Another interesting point in Widrick’s statements is that teams like hers work by planning years ahead. In other words, they have to identify what will be desirable five, six years from now regarding color and trim. Therefore, it is not a matter of simply following existing trends, but also of creating them to some extent.
The future of unique colors
Speaking of “years ahead” brings us to two interesting examples. One of them is Cupra, a Spanish marque recently spun off SEAT. It is building an image based on a modern view of the relationship between driver and car. One dimension of that is using primarily matte car paint colors to create a unique visual effect.
We can also mention high-luxury automakers like Cadillac and Rolls-Royce. They are investing more than ever in customization and cool car colors are an important part of that. They allow you to determine the exact shade you want, sometimes with stripes or other patterns. They want to offer you the best painted cars.
Last, but not least, there is BMW’s recent case. The German carmaker has been toying with E-ink to create impressive concept cars. First, the iX Flow would only shift from white to black. This year, the i Vision Dee debuted with 32 possible colors. The concept car can even display animations throughout its body panels.
From now on, you will be able to spot cool colors for cars. The more people embrace this trend, the more accessible the industry will make it. Companies will make their identities richer and we will see even more beautiful car models on the streets. Now, what is your favorite color? Would you buy a car in that color?
- Cupra design director Jorge Díez on the Spanish brand’s future – Wallpaper Magazine
- Living Color with Jennifer Widrick – New Roads Magazine
- The BMW i Vision Dee Is a Color-Shifting Ride to a Virtual World – Jalopnik
- What Color Cars Are Cheaper to Insure? – Car and Driver
Danillo Almeida has explored his passion for cars in two distinct ways. The first one is his graduation course in Mechanical Engineering, which will hopefully lead to a job position in the field. The other one is expressing his knowledge and opinions on the matter through writing. Almeida has already contributed to blogs, stores, and websites in general writing automotive content in many formats.