What the Color of Luxury Cars Say About the Rich People That Drive Them

Oct 30, 2015

While many people are under the assumption that exotic luxury cars are usually brightly colored with hues like red, yellow or orange, the truth is that the majority of luxury cars are either silver, grey or white.

Of course the color tones of luxury cars are rarely given generic names; instead they are given names that evoke emotion like “arctic,” “diamond” or “fog” to represent sophistication and elegance, according to Bloomberg.

Choosing the color of a vehicle is a big deal and although it may not seem like it, professionals like Cathy Bass, a senior designer for Bentley, have dedicated their entire lives’ work to finding the perfect hues for the right cars. She told Bloomberg:

“The color of your vehicle is about buying something that makes a statement about your personality. When you’re buying a new car, it’s critical.”

While many are used to seeing a red Ferrari or a yellow Lamborghini pulling up to an intersection with boastful vigor, a third of all luxury cars are actually silver. Another 30% of luxury vehicles are either diamond, crystal, snow, powder, cream or some version of white.

Robert S. Daily, color-marketing manager of DuPont Automotive, told Bloomberg:

“Silver and gray reflect our fascination with technology, such as seen in the brushed chrome cues on laptop computer covers and other electronic devices. Secondly, silver and techno-gray seem to accentuate the angular, ‘new-edge design’ of the latest luxury sport vehicles.”

Percentages of Luxury Cars in Various Colors

– Silver – 32.1%
– White Metallic – 17.7%
– White – 11.8%
– Med/Dk. Blue 8.6%
– Black – 8.5%
– Med./Dk. Gray 7.2%
– Med. Red – 6%
– Gold – 3%
– Med/Dk Green – 1.8%
– Light Brown – 1.7%

Erin Crossley, the color and trim design manager for Cadillac, told Bloomberg:

“Color induces memory, and it affects your mood—especially when it’s connected to how you express your personality.”

Bright and exotic colors like cherry red or lime green represent aggressive drivers and sporty individuals, whereas dramatic colors like green or teal represent “performance aesthetic.” Crossley said:

“People equate light colors with soft things. If you’re an adrenaline fiend, you’re going to choose red.”

Crossley’s job goes beyond choosing colors that people think are cool or fashionable. Her job is to find color schemes that people see in their daily life, whether that’s in the picture frames on their refrigerators, the throw pillows on their couches, or the mats in their bathroom. She said kona and cinnamon are tones with growing interest:

“They are colors that have that perfect balance of being expressive and also feeling reminiscent of the leather good products. It makes it feel much like a home environment inside the car—expressive without being too over top.”

Bass, a color expert for 27 years, currently leads Bentley’s program and said she looks at fashion shows, design events and furniture boutiques for hues that will reflect what Bentley buyers want.

Bass is used to dealing with a variety of customers, but she noticed a trend when dealing with men and their female companions. She noticed that when a couple choose a car together, the man is, more often than not, interested in the performance and engine power of the vehicle and the woman is likely to choose the color and interior design. She said:

“The female companions in particular play an important role in the selection of both the interior and exterior of the car. A lot of the gentlemen say they’re interested in the engine and the performance, and, ‘I let my wife pick the color.’”

According to a Sherwin-Williams report, cars produced during economic downturns are more likely to feature more subdued colors while cars made in upswing years feature bolder colors. The paint company reported that for 2016, “multi family living is back, and this palette connects across generations: dashing greens and cheeky pinks with a flower power that’s as crisply modern as it is soulfully vintage.”

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