How Car Paint Colors Are Picked by Car Companies

by Editorial Staff

Car makers decide what goes in a car, and they also pick what colors their cars come in. Of course, for some of you what the car company picks for the colors aren’t really relevant, since you can afford to just get the paint color changed. But for the rest of us, we can get only what colors are available, and in general there’s really not all that many hues to choose from these days.

Obviously, the color of the car doesn’t really do much when it comes to driving performance and ride comfort. Yet it’s undeniable that it’s the first thing that the people see when they look at the car. It’s an integral element in whether a car looks good or not. It helps to create an immediate emotional connection to a potential owner, and it affects how people regard the car you’re driving.

So it’s natural to wonder just how these car companies pick the colors for their car. What’s the reasoning behind their choices? We take a look at the decision-making process to find out more:

Inoffensive Colors

Most people (about 60% according to one survey), regard the color of a new car as a “major factor” when they’re shopping for a new ride. You’d think that because of this outlook car companies would all be presenting new cars in bold and bright colors.

But the opposite is actually true. Car companies somehow have decided on presenting their cars in truly plain colors, such as black, white, gray, and silver. These colors make up 75% of the colors on new car sales in 2015. So what’s going on?

These plain colors are inoffensive, and that’s the main reasoning behind the car makers’ decision to use them most of the time. Nowadays, selling a car is like staging a home for sale. The goal isn’t to attract buyers with the color. It’s to avoid offending them.

The problem is that some people like colors that other people absolutely loathe. There aren’t any colors that are universally loved. But there are colors that very few people hate, and these are the plain colors. It’s easier to sell the cars in neutral colors because very few people are turned off by the colors. It’s why red and blue cars are so uncommon, and for every one colorful option you have 6 or so shades of gray.

Why Do Some Boring Colors Look Great?

These plain colors are often used, but when you see them in person the color sometimes doesn’t seem boring at all. There’s something about that that catches your interest.

The trick is not really in the paint color. It’s actually in how the paint is applied. The car companies employ special techniques that somehow get these plain colors to come alive.

·         Sometime a color is the result of a tinted clear-coat on top. Under it, there’s a metallic base coat.

·         Other cars mix the base coat with the primer.

·         There’s also a 3-layer painting process that seems to add depth to the paint. The first coating doesn’t have any aluminum and mica. The second coat in the middle adds the mica and aluminum, and then the clear-coat third layer is applied. The end result is often an entrancing sparkle or a mirror finish.

Color Trends

In the fashion industry, you have designers from which retail shops pick the items they want to feature for their customers. It’s the same way in the car industry. The car companies pick colors presented by various paint suppliers, and these colors are then tweaked to match the preference of the car company.

This process can take a while, so the chosen colors of one year can be seen on production cars after 3 years or so.

·         Nowadays, the spotlight is on the various shades of gold, orange, and brown. They’re still neutral, but they’re not all that boring either.

·         Lighter shades of blue had begun to fade a few years ago, but now they’re coming back in vogue.

·         Matte and 2-tone finishes are also becoming more common. There was a time when these looks were reserved for exotic super-cars, but now they’re making their way into more mainstream vehicles.

·         The use of trace amounts of color-shifting pigments is also becoming popular. Metallic flakes in the paint are meticulously layered, resulting in several subtly different hues in the paint.

Paint Longevity

The paint finish on your new car is expected to last for at least a decade. You just need to take care of the car paint properly so that the color doesn’t fade or turn dull. Just wash your car once a week with a real car cleaner (and not household cleaners), and you can also polish and wax it too every now and then.

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