Monday, June 27, 2011


Since we moved to the US, I've noticed by far the most predominant car colours are white, silver, grey, beige and black. Looking out of my window this morning, in the rows of several hundred cars in the parking lots around my office, I can see three red cars, one yellow, one blue and one green. The rest of them are all the usual suspects. It's like living in a 1950's movie and not in a good way either.
I haven't been able to determine yet whether this monotone colour choice is actually a choice people make, or something that the car companies thrust upon us over here under the assumption that people won't buy anything colourful.
You can see the problem for yourself if you go to any of the brand name's US websites. Take my current ride for example - a VW Tiguan. On the US site they have red, blue, silver, black, grey, and two shades of white. In Europe you can get all those colours, plus metallic cream, sky blue, yellow and orange (depending on the variant). Toyota vehicles - in the US we get beige, white, silver, grey, black and dark blue (almost black). One or two models have red available.
The light at the end of the tunnel here are the new Ford models (Fiesta, Focus) that come in an explosion of colours. Fiat are doing the same thing - wild colours - bright yellows, orange, green, several different reds. Time will tell if people buy them or if we'll end up in the same monochrome world. It's not looking hopeful though - when I spoke to the new Fiat dealer in town, they'd sold 12 Fiat 500s in the first couple of weeks. Two silver, two white, eight black, none of them with any coloured graphics. The four they had on special order were three grey and one red.
You can see examples of this monochrome world by looking in Google earth. Best place to look is airport long-term parking lots. Here's a starting point.
Amsterdam - explosion of colour: 52 17 28.29N 4 44 9.28E
Chicago - monochrome with the odd red car: 33 57 4.45N 118 23 38.95W


Anonymous said...

You are so totally right about the drab car colors here in the U.S. For the most part, I think it's something the car companies are foisting off on us - because even in the case of the Ford Fiesta and Focus, the bottom-of-line "S" trim models come in a very limited palette. I'd prefer a brighter color, but I don't think I can afford to spend a couple of extra thousand dollars to move up to a higher trim line to get one.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that limited colour choices are not pleasing to the eye, I have to say that silver or beige are quite useful if you have to park in direct sunlight and/or drive on roads with quite a lot of dust.

First, the temperature in a silver or beige (or white for that case) car parked in the sun is going to be significantly lower after 2 hours than in a car of same model/make but painted in any other colour.
Second, the dust: a silver or beige car would keep looking reasonably nice even when covered by some amount of dust. With other colour choices you need to wash it more. That might limit your choices if you don't want to spend the extra time for this.

My first car was a dark blue Corolla - very nice when clean, but a total mess the next day (not to mention heating up like an oven when parked in sunlight). The next one: I wanted a red Yaris - my wife wanted silver because it needs less washing: we got a silver one:D For the third I've learned my lesson and we got a beige car - guess I'm lost for this cause.