Blue Is the New Green Is the New Bullshit

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Just as GM is prepping a green themed “230” Volt hype campaign, comes word from Automotive News [sub] that green is so 2003. “For all the talk about green vehicles,” intones the industry rag, “blue is the new color of choice to embody clean driving.” Did you think that Mercedes BlueTec and VW/Audi’s “AdBlue” names came from the blue tint of their diesel-emissions-treating urea fluids? Nope. “The color blue is associated with freshness, dynamism and lightness,” say VW flacks. And according to Hans Tempel, president of Mercedes-Benz Japan, “Blue perfectly encapsulates the cool, clear sky of a world unsullied by greenhouse gases.” Gagging yet? The best eco-chromatic marketing analysis awaits post-jump.

One point we will concede to Tempel, namely that “‘green’ is a term that is heavily occupied. You’ve got to find a new term in a global brand,” he explains. Fair enough, but if Toyota uses blue for its Prius badging, Hyundai brands its clean cars as “Blue Drive,” and Nissan’s new Leaf EV is blue-themed, how long will the blue-as-green branding stay fresh? Especially when the alleged originality of the color coding is drowned in the hemming-and-hueing of relentless marketing-speak. Like this bon mot from Simon Humphries, general manager for global design at Toyota: “blue is green with technology. It’s a clean and fresh color, and I think that’s what people are looking for.”

But, as usual, the best explanation for the blueshift (trademark pending) comes not from the designers and company toadies, but from the interpretive power of the media. Automotive News [sub] breaks it down:

“To its champions, blue is Earth-friendly in a high-tech, “Star Trek” way. It’s futuristic, evoking the dilithium crystals that effortlessly power the starship Enterprise at warp speed. Green, by contrast, is Earth-friendly in a granola way. Like a hippy bus running on hemp seed oil.”

Got that? There will be a test.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.