It’s a pseudo monochromatic-ruled world in today’s car market it seems. You see on the road vehicles dressed in light palettes of beiges, whites, and silvers. Oh, and your traditional black vehicles as well. It seems a majority of cars these days feature neutral, if somewhat dull colors. But why are these colors dominant in today’s car market?
For those of you old enough to remember, it wasn’t always that way. Back in the 1970s, car colors had a little more character to them. From greens, yellows, and even orange, if not “gaudy”, at least it wasn’t boring. Since then, America has gotten a lot more conservative with its car palettes. Flashback to 1992, when millions of people sat glued to their TVs to watch the OJ Simpson chase. That infamous white Ford Bronco stuck out like a sore thumb – something that wouldn’t have happened today. That’s because back then, the most popular car color was teal, followed by red. Experts say this bold color choice was attributable to Apple’s influence with its introduction of the bold colors for computers.
What’s been reflected in today’s preferences really started back around 2000. That year, silver became popular due to an emerging influence from technology and Silicon Valley. If you doubt this, think about the surge in stainless steel appliances that happened at the same time. As the 2000s wore on, white made its way onto the scene as a popular car color due in part to another influence of Apple: the neutral iPhone colors. In fact, white has been the most popular car color for nearly a decade.
However, as the years have rolled on, it has been safety, rather than style that has really impacted car color. In particular, white cars have been found to be safer than black ones. Studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that black cars have a 12% higher crash risk as compared with white cars during the daylight hours, followed closely by gray and silver. During dawn and dusk, black vehicles had a 47% higher accident risk than white.
Another factor in the evolution of lighter colors is simply comfort. Lighter hued vehicles absorb less heat in the summer, as opposed to darker cars. This factor also can explain that lighter colored vehicles need to use air conditioning less in the summer and save more money on gas.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know. White and beige cars don’t depreciate in value as quickly as bolder colored cars. In addition, consumers are less likely to tire of white or beige than a trendier color like orange or red. And because there’s such a consistent high demand for neutral colors, this makes it easier to sell your car later at a higher price. Stands to reason, then, that white cars are the most popular within used car listings.
Finally, there’s the gender factor. Men tend to have a bigger preference for white cars over women, with white pickups being the most popular in the truck category for men. Women shy away from flashy colors, but rather than white, they tend to go for silver and brown. For men who like flashy colors, they gravitate to red and orange.
So, there you go. Just like music and fashion, car colors change with the times and car manufacturers follow the changing public. Still, it would be fun to see more “aqua-marine” colored cars on the road today (they do exist).
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