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The lowdown on car colours

Silver, charcoal, black, white and red. We spot them daily on our roads in great number, with colours like green, yellow, brown and – gulp – orange playing a definite second fiddle. But what influences the colours we choose when we buy our cars?

More than a century ago when Henry Ford launched the first commercially produced car to the market – the Ford Model T – he proudly announced that customers could buy the vehicle in any colour of the rainbow, as long as it was black.

Things have changed. Cars really are available in any colour imaginable nowadays although white, black, grey, silver and red are the most popular choices the world over.

In the local market, in an interview in City Press online, AutoTrader CEO George Mienie said that SA’s favourite car colour is white with a staggering 55% of online searches accounting for white vehicles. Silver and black take second place with slate, grey, blue, red, orange and gold limping along behind them.

White, says Mienie, remains an easier car to sell on than other colours. We asked leading local motoring journalist Juliet McGuire for her take on car colour.

Future insights company Yankelovich Partners found that 39% of consumers were likely to change brands if they were unable to get a product in the colour they desire most. If you were unable to get the car of your dreams in the colour of your dreams would it be enough of a deal-breaker to make you choose another car altogether?

I would never choose a car based on colour over what I need that car for. If I couldn’t get my favourite colour I would choose the next best colour.

Birds are more likely to poop on red cars than any other colour, according to research on the road, so to speak. “The colour red,” says Andrew Tai on the Unhaggle blog, “causes birds to instinctually panic … the same way matadors use a red cape to rile the bull. Unfortunately, this colour shock causes the birds to loosen their bowels.” The research conducted by UK online retailer Halfords, claims 18% of the cars pooped on most frequently are red, followed by blue at 14% and included 1 140 vehicles.


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