Global Colour Preferences Reveal Customer Tastes

Thursday, 19 May 2011
Despite an array of bright, vibrant car colours, many Ford customers in parts of the US and most European countries prefer the classic core colours – white, black, silver and grey.

In Australia Ford customers are generally very active and sportier and this is reflected in their colour choices, which include blues and intense citrus colours, while prestige buyers opt for richer metallics.

Colour preferences in Australia are shaped predominantly by two things – climate and culture, according to Ford Australia Colour and Materials Design Manager, Emily Lai.

"Our climate is bright and rich, making for an intensely coloured landscape," Lai said. "Australians also have a strong outdoors lifestyle and their high participation in sports from a young age means many people have a preference for more sporty, active colours."

With the sporty Ford Falcon XR range representing around 40 per cent of local Falcon volumes, there is a strong interest in bright colours – blues (Nitro) and citrus colours (Sunburst), plus darker cross-over colours (Edge and Silhouette) that are both sporty yet sophisticated.
Lai says Australia's healthy economy has created a strong desire and focus on up-to-the-minute fashion, which extends to the latest vehicle colours.

"To this end we have created highly successful, sophisticated colours ranging from a Champagne-inspired light metallic over grey, through to a mid-tone, rich Havana (warm Mocha) and dark fashion-inspired Edge (metallic gunmetal grey), which reflect  architecture and our café society," she said.

"Like most large continents we see regional variations in colour trends.

"For example, in Sydney and Melbourne there is a preference for both the sporty colours for Falcon, along with very sophisticated metallics in rich and dark hues, while in the tropical north we see customers opting for lighter colours that reflect heat and provide a psychological perception of cool.

"Government and fleet buyers still prefer the more traditional colours of whites, silvers and blues – often to ensure consistent resale values or suit more traditional corporate identity liveries. However with the increasing uptake of novated leasing, employees are choosing their own vehicles and creating a demand for more personal colour choices, such as some of the darker hues like Edge (metallic gunmetal grey)."

Global colour preferences are diverse. French and Italian motorists like cream-coloured vehicles, not a surprise given their café cultures. The Irish like silver. Customers in Denmark prefer black, while those in Belgium like grey.

In New York and Los Angeles, grey and silver are the most popular colours while San Franciscans like white and Bostonians like black.
Only one country in Europe has a top colour other than white, black or silver. The Czech Republic prefers blue.

Vehicle owners everywhere use colour choice to convey messages about themselves, according to Julie Francis, of the European Colour and Materials team.

"There is something very personal to buyers about the colour of their cars," Francis said. "When you look at the culture, you can see how fashion and other tastes influence the colours customers choose."
Almost 50 per cent of all vehicles sold in Turkey are white. Black is the colour of choice for most drivers in Norway, Portugal, Germany and

Russia, whereas drivers in Ireland, Romania, Finland, Poland and Sweden chose silver more times than not.

"Red used to be, far and away, the most popular colour," the Marketing and Product Strategy manager for Ford of Europe, Vince Show, said. "White is in the ascendancy now. Dark greys, blacks and blues are popular, as they are in men or women’s clothing.”

The latest colour findings are from Ford’s annual look at car buying preferences as well as an international colour study by Du Pont.


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