Most car dealerships have at least one car in every color you can think of. Especially if you’re shopping online, car buyers will usually have the option to get a car in any color they want. Why then, are beige, black, silver, and white the most common colors seen on the road today? The reason for this is both cultural and practical.
If we look at our culture, muted colors are simply the trend right now for most consumers. Back in the 1960’s, you were much more likely to see a brightly colored Volkswagen van on the road. Many consumers saw the bright color as a way to express themselves.
Today, consumers view the muted colors (and white especially) as a way to express their status. The sleek, muted design of high-end tech products has found its way to the auto industry. Most high-end computer products feature a sleek, simple, minimalist design. This has led to people wanting to purchase sleek, simple car designs as a way to show status. But this may not always be the case. Culture is constantly evolving, and style choices are cyclical, so we may see bright colors return to cars in the coming years.
The popularity of muted tones can also be explained in a more practical way. For most, a car is the biggest purchase that you can make besides a house. Our car is a part of our daily life. In the same way that most people prefer that their house isn’t too eye catching, most don’t want their car to be too extravagant either. Or rather, we want others to notice our car because it’s nice, not because it’s flashy, gaudy, or attention-seeking.
A second practical explanation of common muted tones has to do with safety and insurance. White, grey, and silver cars have some of the lowest accident rates. Cars with bright colors such as red have a much higher accident rate than other cars. Insurance companies are well aware of this, and they sometimes charge a higher premium to insure a car just based on its color. Because of this, many consumers are going for boring colors to save money and stay safe.
The last practical matter involves car value in the long-term. The demand for bright colors changes at a much more volatile rate than muted tones. Consumers are likely to get tired of a specific bright color after a few years, causing demand to rise and fall. Colors like black, grey, and beige are less influenced by trends and have a more constant demand. In this way, cars with muted tones are less likely to depreciate in value. So, many consumers choose these softer colors to protect the value of their car over the long-term.
The reason for boring car colors is multi-faceted. The aspects we discussed here don’t explain the situation in its entirety, but they are among the biggest factors for our current trend of muted car colors.