“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
That’s a quote from Henry Ford, back in 1909. The reason for such a policy was the belief that having only one color would lead to production efficiencies which would lead to lower costs of production, which would lead to lower prices for consumers.
That may have worked 100 years ago, but today, customers demand choice.
Or do they?
According to a report from Axalta, 38% of people prefer white as their car color, followed by 19% for black, 13% for gray, and 10% for silver. That means that four colors make up 80% of car sales. And those colors are probably what most people would consider being the blandest of color possibilities. (the color of my car is silver, so I’m almost a rebel.)
There must be a reason for white’s popularity as a car color, and there are several:
- Used white cars and trucks are easier to sell because of the neutral tone, leading to a higher resale value
- White cars are more visible, which results in lower accident rates compared with dark cars, which in turn results in lower insurance costs. White vehicles stand out against the black surfaces of roads and the bright colors of forests and cities. According to one report, white vehicles are 12 percent less likely to get in accidents than black vehicles. In addition, white cars are more visible at night because it reflects the maximum light that falls on it.
- White cars are easier to paint over. White car paint hides dirt and grime very well overall.
- If you live in a snowy climate, white cars hide salt better than darker colors
- Just like in the fashion world, white makes things look larger as opposed to the slimming and reducing color of black.
- When it is hot out, white cars tend to heat up a little less than darker-colored cars because they reflect a lot of heat . Less heat means cooler interiors.
- Little scratches and dents are not easily visible on white cars
My mom had told me a long time ago that she would only ever buy a white car because she had heard it was the safest. I secretly questioned such a belief, and often wondered where she heard it. I put it up there with my mom returning a Oujia Board because it didn’t work, and her claim that “farting is better than the sound of an ambulance“.
But I guess my mom was right after all about white cars.
Looks like I may have to check into that farting claim a bit more seriously…
*image from WardsAuto
**post inspired by “Why ‘Winter White’ Is the Only Car Color You Want” in today’s Wall Street Journal, written by Dan Neil