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Recent Ford Study Shows Car Color Choices Vary By Region

Posted in Design, Ford, trends by Kurt Ernst | May 6th, 2011 | 7 Responses |

Image: Ford Motor Company

Do you drive a red car? If you live in the United States, you’re more likely to live in the Midwest than you are to live on the coast. If you drive a green car, you probably live in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, or Pittsburgh. Customers in Miami, on the other hand, eschew neutral earth tones for more vibrant colors like orange and gold. For an automaker such as Ford, tracking these color preferences is a full time job; not only do you have to know what buyers want today, you need to anticipate what they’re going to want in a few years. You also need to think globally; just as states or regions of the United States have color preferences, so do nations in the EU. If you want to sell a sedan in France or Italy, you’d better offer it in an antique white. Belgians, on the other hand, much prefer gray.

If there’s good news to be had in color product planning, it’s that the classics never really go out of style. Colors like black, silver, white and gray represent some sixty percent of production worldwide, so Ford goes to extra efforts to “refresh” these colors whenever possible. In Europe, tri-coat pearl technology, which gives a radiant effect to gray-scale colors, is very popular at the moment. In the United States, tinted clear coats are the latest trend because they give a deep, liquid effect to the paint.

Automobile colors also mirror trends in fashion; just as red used to be popular for both cars and clothing, it’s now on the wane. White is rising in popularity, as are dark grays and blues, and black continues to go with everything in both cars and clothing. To ensure that they’re capturing the trends customers expect, when they expect them, Ford works closely with suppliers such as Du Pont, who also spends a significant amount of time and effort studying color preferences. What does it all mean? You may not be able to order a 2024 Ford Taurus in “Radiant Tangerine”, but chances are better than average it’ll still come in white, black and silver.

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7 Responses

  1. 68SportFury says:

    I tried to break out of the black/white/silver/gray box with my recent new-car purchase, I really did. But, ultimately, I ended up with Billet–which is a little darker than Silver, but lighter than Tungsten (which is gray). Unfortunately, nobody had a V6 Charger in Toxic Orange or Redline that wasn’t optioned up beyond my price range…

  2. Makes sense that bright colors would be popular in a place like Miami. Black cars evoke a “powerful” image if you want to be taken seriously; I think most heads of states drive a black car. Silver is tricky; it has to be the right gradient of silver; some silver colors look dull and it almost looks grey which is boring. The only car I will ever drive is black; it’s my favorite.

  3. ptschett says:

    The only significant vehicle in my vehicular history that wasn’t blue is my ’96 T-bird which is red… it was used, so I took what I could get. Of my current fleet both the Dodges are blue (“Patriot” on the Dakota, “Deep Water” on the Challenger) and even my KLR650 happens to be a ’99 and therefore a teal or blue-green kind of color.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Deep Water Blue is definitely my favorite color on the Challenger. I’m just back from One Lap of America, and I have to say that the Challenger 392 was DAMN impressive.

      • 68SportFury says:

        I was really disappointed when I saw that Deep Water Blue was only going to be available on the Inaugural Edition Challenger SRT 392 this year. That would have been my first choice of color on any of the cars I considered, had it still been available. I’ve always liked blue, and have never managed to score a blue car.

  4. J D Stadler says:

    I’m just tired of every car I look at having 15 different shades of silver/gunmetal/white/black/”sand” and then a navy blue and red if I’m lucky. My cars have been champagne (ick), white, silver, and silver. I crave COLOR! I was partial to the DARK teal/greens from the late 90’s but I suppose that would look “dated” on today’s cars. I like that the new muscle cars have such bold choices and aren’t afraid to stand out. The Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro all have some great choices