Colour is a cardinal factor when it comes to cars and one’s car buying decisions. Often, buyers are ready to sacrifice certain features — trim levels, wait times and even cash savings — to get the car with the colour of their choice. And it makes sense! In this physical world where visual impact is created by mainly two characteristics, namely shape and colour, driving the car with the right colour helps project one’s inner identity without having to say the words.
That being said, let’s have a look at which paint schemes are popular today and how you are judged by the colour of the car your drive.
The popularity contest
The two most popular car colours are white and black. Their rankings are interchangeable depending on the source of information, the region and the year. North America loves black, it is the single most preferred colour for their vehicles, while here in the Middle East, white cars have a greater chunk of the sales pie. Besides the response to heat and the association with personality traits, the fact that both these colours are almost always a no-cost option is a reason why they are so popular.
These two basic shades are followed by grey and silver. And fifth and sixth ranks are typically populated by red and blue.
It is no secret that the colour white performances better in sunnier weather as it tends to reflect more light and absorb less heat — something we learn in secondary school and from experience. Silver, beige and light grey are also advantageous in this respect. Darker colours such as black, dark blue and brown, being on the other end of the spectrum, perform worse as they tend to absorb, retain and radiate more heat. However, the important thing to know is that while exterior and interior colours matter, they are not half as important as leaving your windows rolled down an inch or parking in a shaded area on a sunny day.
Certain colours have been linked with certain cars and vice versa. So much so, we often refer to a shade of bright red as Ferrari red, regardless of what car or SUV it may be. But the little-known fact is, there is more than one red in the Italian manufacturer’s palette, which I found out during a visit to their showroom.
We also get specific models linked to specific colours, like the E46 BMW M3 and its brilliant Phoenix Yellow. Subaru seems to have adopted WR Blue Pearl as their signature paint on their WRX range. Blue is also standard livery on Volkswagen’s sporty R vehicles.
Ultra-luxury brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley use two-tone paint schemes to keep their vehicles even more distinct on the roads.
The interior colour is a slightly different story! Black is the most common colour available on most vehicles and beige is a close second. Grey is another alternative that some manufacturers offer. These three colours do a rather amazing job of masking the dust and grim; which is both a positive and a negative depending on how you look at it. Red and brown are also quite popular in vehicles with leather seats.
What does the colour of your car say about you?
Black: The darkest of ‘shades’, is a conservative colour that is often related to being classy, sophisticated and mysterious. A black car, when coupled with heavily tinted windows, is especially intimidating. It’s most certainly a power colour and a favourite paint choice amongst gangsters, political figures and funeral vehicles.
White: Like black, white is also a neutral colour. It is synonymous with purity and owners of white cars tend to be organised at some level, after all it takes some effort to keep it clean. While a white paint scheme may be the choice for work horse vehicles, it is also the go-to colour for high society individuals. And it enjoys particular popularity here in the Middle east, possibly because of the association with royalty. Designers that rely on the ethos of minimalism often choose white; Apple products are prime examples.
Red: This is the colour of passion, be it love or war. The global consensus is that a red paintjob is often chosen by people who are sensual, ambitious, outgoing, and impulsive… or people who aspire to be these things! And of course, these folks are thought to enjoy the spotlight too!
Blue: While blue is a favourite colour in general, when it comes to cars it is just not as popular. If you own a blue car, you are thought to be youthful — can also be read as childish, optimistic and more of a non-conformist, than a rebel. Blue and its cousins purple and indigo are also linked with regality and wisdom, specifically intuition.
Grey: A neutral colour that often pertains to the term nondescript. Owners of such vehicles like to maintain a low profile and are also considered to be practical, by some. Most recently we have seen an increase in the number of premium vehicles with grey livery — gloss and matte — which is a ‘practical’ way to hide a luxury badge and/or massive horsepower under the hood. Grey is also almost invisible to the eye when driven during dusk or dawn, especially without the headlamps switched on. And hence, like other dark colours, grey cars are prone to accidents. The colour is also linked with being moody and depression.
Silver: This is the glitzier render of grey. As per many sources on the Internet, if you like or own a silver car, you are considered practical, innovative and business-inclined. It also has an association with cutting-edge machinery and digital technology.
Green: In the modern age, green cars are quite rare. Green is often tagged to life, growth, renewal, money and wealth. And green car drivers are said to care less for trends. Motorheads may think you have a penchant for the British Racing Green while others may see you as one who settles… for what’s left in the inventory.
Gold: This may be amongst the least popular of paint schemes, but it does tell a story. While the subtler versions like sand and matte finish varieties are associated with vogue and affluence; the owners of shinier ones are seen as narcissistic and gaudy. But I do have to admit, it does take a certain confidence to drive a shiny gold car. Others may recall the terms classic and old fashioned, when they see a gold car pass them on the street.
Take what you want from these words, but we say that you don’t have to let these colours define you, instead define the attributes associated with your car colour by your demeanor on the road and in real life.
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