Boring Car Colors: Have We Shifted Into Neutral?

Have you ever wondered why vehicles today seem overwhelmingly—or underwhelmingly—dull? It’s not just your imagination. The vast majority—about 75%—of cars on the road are either white, black, silver, or grey.

Achromatic vehicles have dominated the landscape for the last several years, however this wasn’t always the case. Back in the 1920s, cars were often painted in bright hues, sometimes with multiple colors in combination. And in the 1950s-60s, the most popular paint choices for vehicles were green and blue.

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So why did we detour away from color? There could be many reasons for this, including practicality, but—surprisingly—some of those reasons may be based on false premises:

  • People think bright colors will attract attention from the police and result in more tickets.

Contrary to popular belief, flashy colors do not get the majority of tickets. White cars are ticketed the most, followed by red, grey, and silver. But your gender and the make and model of your vehicle may have a bigger impact than the color. For example, men who drive a Hummer H2, Volkswagen GTI, or Mercedes-Benz CLS-63 AMG are much more likely to get a ticket than your average driver.

  • Buyers believe neutral colors will have greater resale value.

This idea has been contradicted by a study which shows that vehicles painted in bold colors—such as yellow, orange, green, teal, and red—actually hold their value better than more neutral shades.

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Will this colorless trend continue? If you’d like to see brighter cars on the market and the road, there is hope. Consumer preferences may be changing—moving away from silvers and neutrals—toward reds, blues, and golds. It could take a few years, but there are signs we may see more vehicles with vibrant colors in our future.

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