By on May 3, 2013

Chevy Equinox Trio Picture by David Hester

Take a good look at the picture above. What do you see? If your answer is that you see three black Chevrolet Equinox “cute utes,” you’d be wrong.

I took the picture at about four in the afternoon on a sunny day at my local Chevrolet dealer. According to their window stickers, each of those trucklets are a different color. The Equinox furtherest from the camera, facing the building, is the only one that is Black. The one closest to the camera, next to the curb, is Black Granite Metallic. The third Equinox is painted Tungsten Metallic. Here’s a shot from a different angle of the Tungsten Metallic and Black Granite Metallic trucks. See the difference?

Tungsten on left GBM on right Picture by David Hester

Yeah, me neither.

And if that’s not enough different shades of Pretentiously Named Dark Color That Looks Almost the Same from 50 Feet to satisfy you, Chevrolet offers a fourth shade of Almost Black for the Equinox called Ashen Gray Metallic. Here is a picture of an Ashen Gray Metallic Equinox parked next to a Tungston Metallic Equinox. The AGM truck is on the left. I think.

AGM on left Tungsten on right Picture by David Hester

Keep in mind that these pictures were taken on a sunny day. Time, and the fact that the dealership was still open and I didn’t feel like dealing with any salesmen desperate to close a sale before the end of the month, kept me from examining the trucks any closer. I returned the following Saturday evening after the lot had closed for some more pictures. The sky was clouding over as a thunderstorm approached, so there wasn’t any sun to bring out the metallic flakes that help to differentiate the individual colors. Here are all four of them in order from darkest to not quite as dark.

 

Black

Black

Granite Black Metallic

Granite Black Metallic

Tungsten Metallic

Tungsten Metallic

Ashen Gray Metallic

Ashen Gray Metallic

Seriously. It’s not just me, right? These colors are almost the same.

For 2013 the Chevy Equinox is available in 11 different colors. That’s actually on the high end for modern mass produced vehicles and it’s down from 12 options during the 2012 model year. The Equinox’s big brother, the Traverse, is available in 9 shades, as is the Suburban.  The Cadillac XTS makes do with only 8. Somehow, the marketing mavens at GM have given buyers of the fifth cheapest car in Chevrolet’s lineup more color options than they gave the higher end flagship models.

On the other hand, if 4 of the 11 colors are so similar that 9 out of 10 eyewitnesses to a drive- by shooting involving a Chevy Equinox after dark would describe the getaway vehicle’s color as “Black,” are consumers really being offered much choice at all? On Chevy’s  “Build Your Own Page,” photoshopped onto a beach background, each of these colors appear very different from one another when viewed on a computer screen. But in real life, parked next to one another, they look way too much alike. This lack of choice was augmented at my local dealership by the fact that of 19 new Equinoxes for sale, 10 of them were painted one of the four “Almost Black” colors in question. The point was further driven home by the almost complete lack of diversity in interior color ordered by the dealer. Only a single model had a gray interior. All of the others were black.

Chevrolet (and presumably, the dealer) would most likely reply that they are simply responding to what customers want. Every year DuPont publishes a survey of the most popular automotive exterior colors broken down by market. In the latest survey black and gray were the second and fourth most popular colors in the North American market, as well as in the world overall.

All well and good, I suppose. There’s no reason why black and gray shouldn’t both be part of the lineup. But why offer two of each color and why make your grays so dark? Compare the color range in the four pictures above to the picture of a 2012 Equinox painted in a discontinued color called Graystone Metallic I found for sale on the used car side of the lot.

 

Graystone Metallic

Graystone Metallic

So why would Chevrolet be so seemingly afraid of color? Their competitors aren’t. At the Ford dealership across the street I found these two Escapes. The dealer had stocked multiple examples of both.

Frosted Glass and Deep Impact Blue

Frosted Glass and Deep Impact Blue

It seems that Ford and Chevy have reversed their traditional roles when it comes to exterior colors. Most people have heard Henry Ford’s famous quote regarding the color of the Model T:  “Any customer can have a car painted any colour he wants so long as it is black.” Most people don’t know that prior to 1914 the Model T was available in multiple colors and the black standard was only adopted as Ford refined his assembly line process. The conventional wisdom is that Chevrolet (and GM overall) were able to grab market share because their models were offered in a greater variety of colors. There’s some truth to that belief, but it’s not the whole story.

It’s obvious that the old days of dozens of color combinations for each model are gone. That doesn’t mean that consumers shouldn’t be given a few more choices than the manufacturers seem to feel comfortable offering today.  At the very least, there’s no reason to offer four shades of practically the same color. C’mon, Chevrolet. Take a chance and show us some color.  Dump two of those four colors and give us another green or a real brown. Throw in a Burnt Orange or a Turquoise instead. Your competitors are doing it.

 

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116 Comments on “Fear Of A Black Planet...”


  • avatar
    carrya1911

    Duh…two are black, and two are a slightly darker black. [/Archer]

  • avatar
    86er

    Depressing dearth of dyes.

  • avatar

    Oooooo the racial implications…

  • avatar
    mikedt

    It seems like just about every car company is doing this. Several shades of black and several shades of silver that for all intents and purposes are identical. Is this the modern form of camouflage? Is everybody that afraid of being picked out by a traffic cop?

    When a coworker was shopping BMWs there was a bright red one in the showroom. The sales guy said everybody likes it, but nobody wants to buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Yup. BMW is the same way. A stroll through the BMW lot brings to mind “50 shades of gray”. Minus the sexiness.

    • 0 avatar
      GoesLikeStink

      This is part of the reason I was exited about shopping for a Fiat. I ended up with my 3rd choice after yellow and orange, and I still get comments on what a great looking blue the car is. They had 8 colors I think but many unusuall ones to choose from. I think they did this with the new Dart too, not that it seems to have helped that car sell.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    This is an interesting observation. I probably would not have noticed that they were different (partly because I have no reason to even slow down at the Chevy dealer).

    Has GM given up on that burnt orange color? Whenever I saw one of those, my first thought was always, “How much discount did the dealer apply to move that thing off the lot?”

    Did they abandon that Viking uniform blue/purple that I used to see on old Equinoxes and Torrents?

    The last time I looked in a Ford dealership, some twenty years ago, the showroom cars were in two colors: lavender and eggplant. I got the hell out of there.

    One must wonder, who makes these choices?

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Honestly think that its the European glut of cars from Opel that Chevy is now taking ownership of. I remember shopping for a new car while in Germany years back and was similarly astounded of the plethera of silver and black cars that only a Teuton could differentiate between.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Yes, the Germans are really bad at this. You see a lot of white, black, and red because those colors are free, whereas metallics and pearls cost extra.

        However as an example of gray, Audi a few years ago had at least five different greys (not all on every car, but some of them had at least 4 of these available):
        Quartz Gray, which was a light gray.
        Daytona Gray, which was a dark gray.
        Lava Gray, which was charcoal, almost black, but could look slightly purplish in certain light.
        Condor Gray, which had a blue-green shift to it.
        There was also Oyster Gray which I believe was darker than Daytona.

        In addition to that, on some cars, they had two silvers — one light, one dark. Although some only had one of those.

        However, in Europe at least, you could get 3 million different blues, even though only one or two of these might be available for a given Audi in the US:

        mauritius (almost navy)
        sprint (a slight green shift)
        flieder (lighter, slightly grayish)
        night (almost black)
        nordlicht (gray)
        aruba (lighter than sprint)
        moro (dark navy)
        brilliant (just blue)
        mugello (darker than brilliant, but not navy)

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I wonder if what you’re thinking of is:

      1) lavender was “chameleon blue” or whatever Ford used to call it back then. It was a lightish purple from certain angles, but color-shifted in various ways to blues, greens, and reds. It was on Windstars and maybe Thunderbirds.
      2) eggplant was “mystic” on a Mustang. It was a darker purple that could look blackish/bluish sometimes.

      In that era (1995-ish), I also remember a hideous color on Ford Escorts that was a pink-orange color. Maybe it was called Sunrise? They had one in the showroom for some reason, and claimed someone who couldn’t decide on colors had bought one the previous week.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    When I scrolled down to the third pic, “Oh they’re doing the Malibus, too.”
    I keep seeing Suburbans like my sister’s. I figured it was the Secret Service Package.
    Ten years from now, after a couple of trips to pull-a-part, it will be like Equinox B/W Harlequin Edition.

  • avatar
    Skink

    Shooting with a polarizing filter would have helped bring out the colors in those photos. The eye can differentiate better than these photos would suggest. How many criminals will escape justice because some hapless eyewitness identified the suspect vehicle as being black, and not precisely Inky Flaky Noir ?

    Yes, let’s have more diversity in factory paint colors. It’s way too boring out there.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      The real problem is digital cameras. The bit count is just not sufficient. A film camera would have been able to distinguish betweens those shades.

      • 0 avatar
        David Hester

        I thought about this as I was putting the article together. For the record, I took all of the pictures with the camera on my Samsung Galaxy S3. I will grant that it’s not the best camera in the world, although it’s probably one of the best smartphone cameras.

        However, the way the different shades of paint contrast to each other in my close up pictures is consistent with how I perceived them in real life under cloudy conditions. No camera is going to be perfect and if we’re not careful, we’ll start getting into three- bong hit philosophy discussions about whether the color of the sky that I perceive as blue is the same as the color you think the sky is.

        Ultimately the only response I can give to the question of whether my pictures represent the colors fairly is to encourage folks to visit a Chevy dealership and judge them for yourselves. I will say that my pictures represent the true color of the cars much more accurately than the Chevrolet website does.

        • 0 avatar
          Slab

          Any painter (artist type) or photographer will tell you that bright sunlight is not good for colors. They get washed out. Overcast days are much better for seeing “true” colors. So, your pictures on the overcast day really tell the story.

          Personally, I miss the variety of blue cars we used to have. Manufacturers today typically offer only one shade of blue (often navy blue which is almost black), and if you don’t like it…

        • 0 avatar
          Skink

          From the original post: “Keep in mind that these pictures were taken on a sunny day.”

          Whether it was sunny or cloudy, no one cares. The cars nicely captured the sky as reflected in the cars’ surfaces. One would think Chevrolet’s marketeers have perceived they need to provide a range of several dark, drab colors to please the drab buyers of their drab vehicles. They get bought and sold because they’re inexpensive, not because they’re gorgeous pieces of rolling sculpture. Fifty shades of grey = fifty shades of shame. I retract my complaint: as long as these homely, malformed Chevies are just visible enough that I may avoid clanging into them, that’s a perfectly fine state of affairs.

    • 0 avatar
      FuzzyPlushroom

      They’ll call it Noir. Not Inky Flaky Noir. I just don’t think they understand.

  • avatar

    It’s a conspiracy I tell ya!

    Maybe consumers are too informed and fear depreciation, maybe neutral colors (white, black, gray, silver) help to resell easier, maybe and silver are easier to maintain clean.

    Maybe we’re all just getting more and more boring.

    • 0 avatar
      Skink

      Not all of us.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Marcelo,
      We have this total move away from color in the US that has gone on at least since the nineties (I hate to say it’s still going on, as someone that works at the grocery store near me just bought a pink Spark, and on the side of the road this morning in a fender-bender was a neon-green Camaro, but most cars I see on the road definitely are some form of gray). Is this trend the same down south?

      • 0 avatar

        Unfortunately yes and sice about the same time. Now white is very strong. This is so bad that when Renault first came to Brazil in the nineties they offered purple, all shades of green, orange, pink. Their interiors hads color too, specially in the seat fabric. Now they’ve conformed to the market and offer white, red, blac (metallic and solid), gray, silver and there’s a kind of light gold too. No green, brown, or blue. Blue! I ech a sentiment below, what happened to blue? Not even Ford offers blue anymore (and in my mind Ford is blue).

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    This reminds me of my experience purchasing my 1st new car in 1994, I went to buy a Saturn. They were nice and helpful and asked me what color I was looking for, I told them black standing right next to a black Saturn coupe. I was informed that they did not make a black Saturn and I was standing next to a Black Gold car, although I could get it in Blue Black as well.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    It’s all marketing horse$hit for cryin’ out loud.

    There should be black, white, silver, gray, light blue, dark blue, light green, dark green, red, maroon and some beigy thing and that’s what the colors should be called.

    Instead we have six shades of “abysmal depressing there is no hope black”; two shades of “polar ski chalet pearl white”; three shades of “svelte seductive silver”; two shades of “post industrial hip urban gray”; maybe a “hopefully optimistic blue”; some years a “regimented with integrity military blue”; ironically rarely an “environmentally aware green”, mostly never a “Muir Woods blissful green”, usually a “solar global warming hot-house red”; sometimes a “whorehouse velvet red” and way too often a “hopelessly bland speaks volumes about me beige”.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    JFC, quit giving us multiple choices of the same damn hue! Yes, you can offer us black, white or grey, but stop adding expensive white, expensive black and lighter grey aka “silver.” Give us color, color, color! Offering a full set of primary and secondary colors in addition to black/white/grey gives your customer 6 choices to be bold and 3 to be boring.

    The people making the color choice decisions need to be locked in a small room equipped with a display terminal locked to the following page:

    https://www.hermanmiller.com/CMF/CDA/

    Do not allow them outside until they vociferously denounce their lack of imagination in vehicle color choice.

  • avatar
    Ltd783

    I couldn’t agree more. Any of my dream builds of a new car include it in it’s most unique color. On most mainstream cars, that’s usually a blue or maroon color, but some still offer some unique colors. You can still do most BMW’s in bright blue, and red, they offer red and white leather. I think a Estoril Blue 328 touring with red leather would pair up great with my current Passion Red V70R with Atacama (orange) leather.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I hear ya’. And for those who live somewhere south of Virginia in the United States, owning a black car with a black interior is beyond stupid: it’s masochistic. The sun is HOT down there in the summer. On larger cars — at least certain makes — black always reads “livery” to me.

    I’m not sure that’s the impression I would want to make.

    I think the new Honda Accord Sport sounds pretty nice — even though the suspension appears to need some attention by a competent tuner. But the car is available only with a black interior and with a choice of, I think three exterior colors: black, gray and white. If I lived in Texas (as I once did), the black interior would be a deal-killer; and I’ve already owned one white car in my life, which is enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      According to Honda’s web site, Accord Sport 6MT is available only in two colors, black and dark metallic. The 6MT coupes are available in black color only, except for range topping Coupe V6 6MT which you can have in black, dark metallic, or red. I really don’t understand Honda’s stubbornness here. Considering that 6MT models are often built to order, why not let customers choose color? Ford is much better on this issue, as mentioned in the articles. I can order Fusion SE with 6MT, any color I like, and with optional navigation (You can’t have navigation in Accord Sedan with 6MT, regardless of trim/engine choice).

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        You’ve touched on something else that bugs me — the now-common practice of having limited colors available on particular trim levels. I could understand if it was the cheap trims with less options, but more often than not, it’s the more expensive ones! The Edge SEL can be had in nine colors, but the Edge Sport only comes in five.

        Similarly, you can’t combine interior and exterior colors freely — even when the only choices are black and gray or beige. I personally think a tan interior often looks good on dark blue cars, but often they’re not made available together — even for special orders.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I heard Chevrolet will have a new shade of black called “Johnny Cash Black”. It’ll be coming in June.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Just offer black and delete the other 3 similar colors. Do not add burnt orange, green, brown, or turquoise those are too trendy and will be outdated in a couple of years. Eight exterior colors and two interior colors with either cloth or leather is enough. GM is not out of the woods yet and it is foolish to waste money on all these different colors.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      “those are too trendy and will be outdated in a couple of years”

      GM is in the business of selling cars. There is nothing they want more than to sell you something that is trendy today and outdated in a couple of years.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        What stood out as most conspicuous from those photos was the significant inconsistencies in fit and alignment of the hood on these Equinii.

        Sad, really.

        Then again, it should come as no surprise given that a relative who purchased a 2012 Cadillac EquiSRX had to have both front doors completely “re-hung” within a couple days of purchase, since they somehow passed final quality control inspection and were shipped to a dealer lot despite being magnitudes of order out of true spec.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You’ve got that backwards. There are only a few exterior colors that still look good a couple days after washing, coated with a light layer of dust. The interiors are where the colors ought to be, and since plastic can by made any color, it shouldn’t cost any more. Let people be individuals INSIDE their cars without visually assaulting pedestrians and other motorists, and making even color-blind dogs bark.

  • avatar
    Mark_Miata

    GM may be channeling Ford’s Model T color concepts even more than you thought – from autoconcept-reviews.com:

    “The myth that the Ford Model T came in any color as long as it is black probably comes from the reality that almost 12 million of the 15 million over total Model Ts were black. But, in the early and late years of the Model T production, the car was produced in many different colors, including blue, red, green and grey. Oddly, many of these colors were so dark that they were hardly discernible from black, another reason the myth lives on.”

    I was unable to discover exactly when Ford started to offer colors other than black in later years from a quick web search – it appears to be around 1926, and it was due to declining sales resulting from the competition of Sloan-style flexible production products from marques like Chevrolet.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      The reason Ford stopped producing cars in a variety of colors was the production bottleneck it caused. After testing various colors it was determined that “Japan Black” dried the fastest and became the only color available thus speeding up the assembly line. This was also the first time black was offered on a Ford and now the only choice. In 1926 DuPont developed Duco Laquer which was a quick drying paint irregardless of color, so once again Ford offered their cars in colors other then black

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    A repeat of 70s era “brown”? Their were 40 variations of deep/light/soft/Ginger/earth/copper/burnt/Pueblo/Mesa/ect. Side by side you could tell a difference, but in the drive by scenario 99% of the witnesses would say a brown car. At least back then you could also get a dozen versions of red, green, blue, or yellow. And interior combinations, some of which, that could only be explained by excessive drug use.

  • avatar
    jfbramfeld

    Let’s limit exteriors to the same two options as the interior: gray and tan. Then perhaps we can find a way to mix gray and tan, “gran” if you will.

    Am I the only guy in the world who misses those bergundy interiors?

  • avatar
    JMII

    This is why my car is ORANGE. I’ve owned just about every possible color… in order they were: tan, red, yellow, red again, green, green again, blue, black, silver, white and orange.

    The colors I HATED the most were black and white. They both show dirt way too much and black is too hot in Florida. My truck is silver because it hides dirt very well, sure its boring but after dealing with black and white I had to get something neutral.

    I really love the names they come up with, reminds me of my wife’s nail polish collection or lures in my tackle box. Its pure marketing fluff… to make one shade of black “different” from another. I’d love to have that naming job.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    White, black, red and silver seem to the the only colors that are constants that cross years, makes and models.
    Red?? Why? Why not blue or green? Something mysterious predilection in the human psyche is all I can figure.
    I have always chosen white or very light colors for keeping cooler in the summer sun.
    Black?? It shows every speck of dirt. Ugh.
    One of my cars is a pale goldish, tanish silver. It matches the Colorado road grime closely. Seen from a distance, rather than getting dirty, it just looses its shine.

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Two words: Resale value. Nobody wants to buy the car they really want to drive, because they won’t get as much money back when they get rid of it.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      This familiar argument never made sense to me. If you financed, I guess (although a vehicle only needs one buyer), but if you leased, what’s the difference?

      Does anyone know if there’s an actual difference in residuals?

      Anyway, my theory about why there’s a dearth of colour options is because almost everyone treats their vehicle as an appliance, so who cares what colour it is? It doesn’t even have to coordinate with your kitchen…

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      If people thought about resale value when buying a new car, certain cars would hardly sell at all. The idea that they think about the color and resale value is extremely difficult to accept.

      • 0 avatar
        cargogh

        Exactly. Just get what you want. In March 1979, Dad was about to order a Dodge pickup in two-tone dark green and white. He thought it was beautiful. Mom talked him into reluctantly getting red and white instead, based on what she thought would have a better trade-in value. Now, 34 years later, Dad is gone and the truck is still in the barn.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    Speaking of colors – this really frosts my whatsits: Honda makes
    its manual tranny accords available in only 2 or 3 colors. What’s up
    with that???

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    I like that a metallic black is offered in addition to flat black. Flat black just shows the scratches too much, but if OEMs need a price leader, I understand the use of flat black. 2 different metallics that are effectively black is overkill though. And chrysler and cadillac need to tone down the flake in their bass boat black metallics.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    I like the Juke. I’d love it if it were available in green.

    Where are the green cars?!!!

  • avatar
    Pebble

    The Seventies, decade that gave us avocado green, rust red and caca brown appliances, also gave us the best choices of car colors. Its time to abandon boring silver for good and get back to banana yellow ’74 Vegas or Ford LTDs in pukey browns and yellows. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a connnvoyyyy.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      While I detect some facetiousness there, a big part of the reason, in my view, why we have such a dearth of colour today is precisely because people are still droning on about the “puke greens” and “whorehouse red interiors” and the like.

      We got what we wanted!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’ve got a 2013 car with a whorehouse red interior! It’s not tuffed velour, but it’s the closest thing to it anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Searcher

        Exactly. Can’t have your car being made fun of. That’s why everybody buys black/gray/silver BMW/Honda/Toyotas with black/gray/tan interiors.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I think that’s a huge part of it. The vast majority of people don’t want to stand out or be judged, so they by a middle of the road car with a bland color.

          For those seeking to project, or those who don’t mind being judged, there are still cars available in wild colors (take a look at the 2013 Dart palette at release time).

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Not everybody:

          http://flic.kr/p/ar53nh

          http://flic.kr/p/ar2o1v

          Admittedly, it is a gray/green. And a wagon!

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          Interiors are usually only offered in a few colors, complementary to the exterior. Ususlly. Black/dark gray goes with anything.

  • avatar
    lon888

    There are literally thousands of high-end German cars (BMW, M-B, Audi, Porsche)around my part of town and damn nearly 95% are black. I never, ever seen a Panamera in anything but black. Do the krauts get a bulk discount rate on black paint?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I rather fancy Ashen Gray Metallic…I wonder why? Oh, yes, my avatar…

    I miss lots of colors, but green appears to be more polarizing than blue. There was a saying, maybe backed up by a statistic, but most cars you see broken down on the side of the road were green.

    Too bad, as I liked a few greens in my day. GM’s Rallye Green was nice, as the Olive Green used by Pontiac. British Racing Green was also a favorite.

    I do gravitate toward reds and grays.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I blame this on car buyers. There is a common mindset that black makes you a bad-ass, light colors make you a lightweight and candy colors make you look fruity. In other words, the same mindset which causes most american males to wear black suits and carry black umbrellas. Seriously- if you offer a colorful umbrella to most men, they’d rather soak in the rain than be seen carrying a colorful umbrella.

  • avatar
    GoesLikeStink

    When I opened the TTAC home page the ad asked me to look at ALL the new colors of the Subaru. There were 2 colors, red and blue, the rest were shades from white to black.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    FIAT really annoys me when it comes to color. The base Pop or Sport is available in 18 colors, some of them really, really lovely, like the light green. And several interior color choices. Black, brown, red, with or without the ivory highlights. The Sport loses the option of red and the ivory highlights. But step up a notch to the Turbo, and you only get 11 colors, with the same interior choices as the Sport. Step ALL the way to the Abarth, and it is black, white, gray, or red for you, like it or lump it. And black cloth, or black or red leather.

    I ended up with black on black cloth on mine. I would have infinitely preferred one of the cool colors from the base model on my little road rocket.

    At least I was able to order green on red/brown for my BMW. Never ceases to attract compliments in a sea of black/white/gray cars.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I understand that most people want to blend in in the appliance segments. But I don’t understand leasing an $800 a month look-at-me douchemobile in look-through-me grey. Make up your mind.

    Ram offers all manner of actual colors as a $500 option on their HD trucks for commercial visibility. They’re rarely stocked for individual sale though.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Here in So Fla and in the SW US as well, black may be elegant and chic, but not practical, white, silver or beige is the way to go, with a dark tint to keep the hot sun from doing a job to your interior and fade awy the paint.

  • avatar
    Scuttle

    My least favorite car color I have owned is black. Sure it looks nice when new and helps blend black plastic trim in some cars (looking at you Mazda 3 and Tacoma) but it is a pita to keep clean and it shows scratches/paint imperfections all too well. I liked the white paint on my Lexus but it was more of a creme than a bright white. I am on my 3rd red vehicle and that is ok with me.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    When we were buying a new car for my wife, the sales guy said that unless I hated her, I shouldn’t suggest a black one – too high maintenance. Even if black were practical instead of highlighting every imperfection and smudge, why all the subtle shades of the same funereal color? Plus guys, well,l me at least, don’t do subtle colors. We’re like an old MS-DOS color monitor – barely eight bit. BTW, banana and avocado are food, not colors.
    At the other extreme from dreary monochromatic, there’s an old Porsche 968 on ebay – green metallic with magenta leather interior. No mistaking that for anyone else’s ride.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    I don’t like black cars as they only look good the first day after being washed.

    I was thinking the other day that the car has become an appliance and, just like other appliances (dishwasher, fridge etc), silver has become the new white.

  • avatar

    Selling all sorts of weird color cars seems to be working for Jeep. They rotate it each year, too. In 2010 it was “Mango Tango”, in 2011 it was “Crush”, in 2012 it was “Dozer”, all three fairly distinct. I may misremember which year was what, but the point is that they were more different than examples in the article. Fiatslers do the same for blues and greens. There is even an NYG, which is a shade more green than the traditional NYG. This tells me that it’s quite possible to sell a bunch of cars in strange colors, it all comes down to what the manufacturer wants to do.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    Maybe I am a radical of some sort, but I refuse to buy a vehicle that is a “non-colour”.

    By “non-colour”, I mean black, white, and anything in between, be it grey or silver or whatever other name that a marketing wizard wants to make up.

    I have a red car, a yellow car, an orange motorcycle, and two blue (different) motorcycles.

    In an average parking lot, the yellow car is a beacon of sunshine on a dull day …

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Statistical analysis: I’ve owned 15 cars including my current Town Car. Colours shake out as follow: Red 5, Silver 3, Blue 2, White 2, and one each of Purple, Brown and a tasteful shade of Taupe courtesy of Chrysler Corporation and the 1980s. Really, I wish the Town Car I have now (burgundy red with ivory vinyl roof) were limousine black…those cars were born to be dressed up like a limo or taxicab.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      My stuff went like this:

      ’71 Cutlass, blue with blue(ehhh) interior.
      ’72 Cutlass, red with white vinyl(Why?)top, black interior. Only car with a vinyl top.
      ’74 Plymouth Roadrunner, “Silver Frost Metallic” with red stripes, black interior. I wanted “petty blue” with red stripes, but was told it was unavailable. They lied.
      ’77 Dodge Power Wagon, yellow over black, black interior.
      ’79 Trans Am, red with “burgundy” interior. Sure wish it had been black inside.
      ’82 K5 Blazer, white(yuck)over maroon, with “burgandy” interior.
      ’85 Caravan, Silver and blue with blue interior.
      ’86 Iroc-Z28, Maroon with “camel” interior. I hated the camel color, but too good a deal to pass on.
      ’88 S10 Blazer, Red with “burgundy” interior. I never want a red interior again.
      ’93 Jeep Grand Cherokee, silver with grey interior. Boring.
      ’99 Jeep Grand Cherokee, red with dark grey interior.
      ’00 GMC Sierra 1500, Black and dark grey. Wanted a red one, but couldn’t find one equipped correctly.
      ’03 Ram 1500, Maroon with dark grey interior. Wanted red.
      ’08 Charger R/T, Black with dark grey interior. Wanted red.
      ’10 Challenger R/T, Hemi Orange with dark grey interior. Wanted “Detonator Yellow”, took HO because it was in stock.

      Brown, white, green? Never! Give me red, yellow, bright blue, orange, maroon, all with as black an interior as I can get. And no two toned anything, ever again.

  • avatar
    Burger Boy

    The problem isn’t the car companies, its boring-assed people. The manufacturers supply what sells and it seems that people overwhelmingly prefer white, black, silver, and gray. So you end up with varieties of a monochromatic palette.

    I just bought a Tangerine Scream Focus ST.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    My absolute two favorite colors,

    look google images

    “Ultra Marine H2″
    “Sedona H2″

  • avatar
    RS

    I tend to go for colors that hide scratches, dirt or whatever helps the car look decent between infrequent car washes. (Car washes close down when temps dip below 20 or so.)

    Clearcoat scratches, Road Salt and most dirt really shows on dark colors. Silvers and Whites are best.

    Other Black options:

    Line-x like coatings. There are a few old pickups running around here with complete bed-liner paint jobs. After the initial horror of seeing it passes, it grows on you. Maybe it’s the durability and functionality along with a little shine and the door-ding hiding texture that makes me think better of it.

    There is one version of Black that is hideous. The horror of seeing Flat Black painted vehicles never passes.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Check out Tesla’s color offerings:

    “Black”
    “White”
    “Silver”
    “Blue”
    “Green”
    “Grey”
    “Brown”
    “Red”
    “Pearl White”

    I love the simplicity – no doubts here.

  • avatar

    If you think exterior color choices are limited, most interiors seem to range from gray to dark gray, or course with French stitching in a contrasting color.

    Actually, the Chrysler 300 and Jaguar XF I reviewed both had brown interiors, but those seem to be the exceptions.

    I yearn for the days when you could order a red car with a blue interior.

  • avatar
    bkmurph

    I don’t like black cars, and I don’t want a car that’ll be mistaken for black after dusk. That pretty much rules out forest greens, navy blues, and even some burgundies/maroons. The colors I like most seem hardest to find: grassy greens, cobalt blues, cherry reds, etc. Something in the middle of the darkness scale, with a bit of saturation.

  • avatar
    gmbuoy

    The how is simple, equinox is painted in three different paint shops at the moment. Ingersol, Oshawa and Spring Hill. So the pallate of choices can be more varied than if one plant was running these. One of the side effects of flexible manufacturing. Leave it to TTAC to jump to the worst interpretation instead of thinking it through, or asking a question. Disclosure : This post made by a GM Employee.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Jacob,I agree with your color preferences. Burnt orange, brown, green, and turquoise are not good colors for resale or just for the long term. As expensive as vehicles are it is better to pick a timeless color. I tend to keep my vehicles a long time and I tend to be more conservative because of that. There is no need for 4 similiar colors when all you need is one.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Assuming the paint is mixed at the individual plants right before application, there probably is enough difference (subtle or not) that it requires a different name – I wonder if there’s a DOT rule involved?

  • avatar
    Guildenstern

    My biggest problem with this trend is that not only do you blend in with the pack, you blend in with the ROAD. Cars should contrast their environment not blend into it. Mazda and Dodge have some Fantastic Colors And even ford is finally moving away from the bland pastels.

    I mostly blame lazy sales people that like the Black, Silver, Grey, White because it saves them having to do work. People always say “That’s what people buy” But if that’s all you have on the lot, of course that’s what people will buy.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Two tangential comments to yours . .

      IMHO a better answer to the whole questionable logic behind daytime headlight use would be better addressed by mandating only certain bright day glow colors for vehicles. Added “conspicuity” (just love that bureaucratic word), no additional fuel use, and 360 degree conspicuity rather than just the frontal 90 degree sector.

      If one is a habitual traffic law bender/breaker, blending into the environment might be a good thing.

  • avatar
    JD23

    What bothers me even more than the lack of exterior color variety is the dearth of interior colors. The only interiors available for my car, which has a gray exterior, were black/black and light gray leather/dark gray dashboard. I chose the gray/gray combination to avoid receiving third degree burns from scorching black leather during the summer, but I would have appreciated additional options.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I have a black car that looks awesome whence cleaned. Otherwise dirty black cars look hideous.

    My daily driver is silver/gold, which is really an outstanding color that I can’t seem to find now in production.

    My upcoming new car is probably going to be ‘pearl white’. I like the way the white shows off the design lines.

    Maroon is one of my favorite colors…it always seems to show off chrome well….

  • avatar
    tklockau

    Glad I’m not the only one noticing this. Several makes offer more than one shade of silver on the same model. Why? Come on, if you’re going to offer colors, how about some REAL ones? I’d love a nice hunter green–most greens available now are the wimpy, apologetic light greens–or “Smooshed Bug Green.”

    I’d also like a nice non-metallic maroon and non-metallic navy blue.

  • avatar
    solracer

    I definitely don’t fit their demographic. The three cars in my driveway are yellow, lime green metallic and smurf blue. Sure makes it easy to find my cars in the ocean of black, silver, light grey and dark grey cars that are too common these days. I’ve only owned one black car (’95 Audi 90 Sport Quattro) and one silver car (’83 Audi Quattro coupe) and in both cases I would not have chosen the same color if I’d bought either new (would probably have gone for red in both cases) but was willing to overlook things because they were great cars in all other respects.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Audi is the same way – they have tons of blacks – two whites – silver and Blue. Red is available in theory but I didn’t see any at the dealer.

    I don’t mind – most cars look best in black. It’s especially good for any car that’s ugly. The Challenger for example looks good in Toxic Orange or Black. But if you are getting a Ford Focus or a Camry Black is a very good choice.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Green, for the love of all that is holy, emerald, heather, or British Racing please!!!!!!!! I’ve gotten so desperate for color I’ve thought about buying a white car and spending THOUSANDS to have it properly repainted. I do like the brown shades that have made a comeback at Ford, Chrysler, and Subaru recently.

    My first car was two shades of brown with a copper interior (1982 Celebrity) and although my second car was white (1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme) the interior was blue.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Why spend thousands for a “proper” paint job? Earl Scheib quality will last several years, and you can do it several times for the cost one proper paint job, which will get scratched/dinged/dented within a month. Ask Steve Lang how much he’ll pay and what he’ll get for the price. You might find “good enough” is, um, good enough.

  • avatar
    mvoss

    This is funny because when I was a salesperson, we would always joke about our dealership’s lack of color on the lot. We would imagine a scenario where all other competing dealerships would point to us if you wanted a “bla-bla” car (black on black).

    I really didn’t get it, but truth be told, a lot of the cool colors simply weren’t bought.

    • 0 avatar
      JimWalewander

      People might not buy bold colors, but dealers can do a much better job with how they display their inventory. I have a small used car lot, and always try to mix up the colors on my front line. It’s no good at all to have a black car next to a dark blue car next to a gray car — people driving by can’t see any of them because they cancel each other out (especially given that at our location, the sun is behind our cars.)

      You have to alternate – black/white/red/black/silver/dark blue/beige. At least people going by at 50mph can see some contrast.

      (I wonder if Steven Lang feels the same?)


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