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The Psychology Behind the Color of Your Car

The Psychology Behind the Color of Your Car
Eric Huebner

The man who famously first introduced the car to mainstream society, Henry Ford, once remarked that customers could purchase his new Model T, “in any color, so long as it’s black.” He was initially of the belief that embellishment via color was unnecessary, and although the Model T eventually was available in other colors, Mr. Ford would be stunned to see the options available to today’s driver.

Car dealerships offer a seemingly endless variety of color options, designed to engage even the most fickle buyers. From traditional standbys like black and blue to more uncommon colors like green and yellow, carmakers are pulling out all the stops in order to make their products appealing to drivers. The wide variety of colors available has some questioning whether consumers make their selection based on simple preference, or whether or not the color of their vehicle somehow reflects their psychology.

Whatever the reason, it cannot be denied that color plays a huge role in sales. Statistically, 93 percent of consumers view color and overall visual appearance as the most important factors when shopping and 85 percent say that color is the primary reason why they buy a product.

In 2012, white was the most popular choice for car buyers in the world, gracing 22 percent of all new vehicles. Silver wasn’t far behind, sitting at 20 percent and followed closely by black and grey.

Although some attribute these numbers to things such as large businesses preferring simple, non-garish colors, those who ascribe to the theory of color psychology argue otherwise. The idea that the color of your car can reflect your driving habits or personality may be a tad dubious to some, but there is some research to back it up.

A study conducted in 2009 in the UK found that drivers of black cars were twice as likely to be involved in an accident as drivers of softer, cream-colored cars. Bright colors also tend to be preferred by those who drive performance-based cars. It’s no secret that the typical Ferrari is bright red, after all.

Some go so far as to suggest that your color of choice reflects not only your driving habits, but your psyche as well. Various theorists believe that calm, cool and detached drivers own silver cars, while those who prefer a simple lifestyle own white cars, and that pink cars reflect femininity, gentleness and tenderness.

This, however, is where the theory begins to fall apart. For example, in some nations such as Japan, pink is considered a highly masculine color. For many, it is related to the pink cherry blossom, said to symbolize slain warriors. In addition, common claims such as, “green car drivers tend to be well-rounded and work well under pressure,” don’t tend to have much statistical support and vary widely based on personal experience.

Car color is an enormously important part of the manufacturing and sales process, with most major automakers devoting countless hours and dollars in order to get a new model’s color options just right. It’s even possible that certain colors appeal more to various types of drivers. However, as of yet, there is little evidence to support claims that car color is representative of the driver’s psyche.

What Your Car Color Says About You:

  • Silver: You are calm, cool, elegant, futuristic and possibly detached
  • White: You are fastidious, enjoy a simple life, have a strong attention to detail and are possibly a perfectionist
  • Green: You are trustworthy, traditional and balanced, but can also be lively and occasionally hysterical
  • Brown/Beige: You are practical, reliable, down-to-earth and pragmatic.
  • Yellow: You are upbeat, intelligent and young at heart
  • Grey: You are calm, sober and very career-driven
  • Blue: You are confident, quiet and dependable
  • Red: You are energetic, dynamic and have a lust for life
  • Pink: You are gentle, loving and caring
  • Black: You are conservative, empowered, elegant and professional
  • Purple: You are creative, unafraid of stepping outside of the norm and happy to be seen as unique

[Sources: KISSmetrics, Road & Track, Aol Autos]

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