By on August 17, 2017

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While local climate plays a role, prefered automotive paint schemes largely come down to personal feelings and dealer inventory. There is also the matter of what colors are trending within the industry and, according to a recent consumer survey tabulation from iSeeCars.com, gender.

The automotive data research company compiled survey results from over 700,000 consumers and close to 30 million used car sales between 2015 and 2016 to find gender biases for specific colors. For the most part, color preferences are irrelevant. But there are a few standout shades that one group seems to prefer over the other.

For women, those colors were teal and gold. For men, it was yellow, orange, and black. However, color choice may have more to do with gender favoritism among vehicle types than an attractive paint job.

This marks teal’s first appearance in the women’s rankings since the initial iSeeCars’ color preferences study in 2013. Women now have a stronger preference than men for teal cars by 19 percent, followed by gold’s 14.5 percent, and silver’s 9.7 percent. Green, blue, and beige were also favored by women, though with a less significant bias that’s almost not worth mentioning.

Interestingly, beige went from holding a 13.5 percent larger stake of women’s hearts in 2015 to being almost dead even with men in 2016. Meanwhile, teal went from being a slightly male-dominated color choice to women’s favorite.

Men’s new preferred car color was yellow, which they favored more than women by a whopping 33.9 percent. Orange followed closely with a 32.6-percent bias, black at 14.2 percent, and brown’s 12.6 percent. In the previous year, orange was ranked first and yellow second.

“Men and women don’t just like different colors,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “Our research shows men’s preferences are much stronger than women’s, and the top color choices for both of them have actually grown to the highest percentages we’ve seen in four years.”

Still, trends showing larger gender biases in color choice may have less to do with the colors themselves than with the vehicles being purchased. Men had a stronger preference in 2016 for pickup trucks by over 200 percent, convertibles by 33.5 percent and coupes by 31.6 percent. But women had a stronger preference for SUVs (23.1 percent) and minivans (21.5 percent) — neither of which are likely to come in orange or yellow, but can definitely be had in teal or gold.

“There’s an interesting connection between gender preferences for vehicle colors and body styles. Men favor pickups and sports cars more than women do, and those segments have an unusually high percentage of brown and yellow/orange cars, respectively” said Ly. “The same is true for some of women’s favorite body styles – SUVs and minivans, which have more teal and gold cars than average.”

Black is ubiquitous, though. There are few models that don’t offer a slate color palate inside and out, yet men favored it to a much higher degree than women. The same is true for silver, which was preferred by women despite appearing on the vast majority of vehicle types. But these seem to be the exception, not the rule. Body styles seem to dictate paint choices more than any legitimate color bias between men and women.

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53 Comments on “When It Comes to Paint Preferences, Men and Women Aren’t Equal: Study...”


  • avatar
    matt3319

    Yellow has always been my favorite color on a car. Had 2 1989 yellow Honda CRX Si’s. Came close back in 1992 in buying a yellow Miata. I should have bought that Miata. Same in 2002 with the NB Miata in blazin’ yellow. Oh and I had a 2001 Ranger Edge in yellow with a 4.0L V6 manual.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      What was your opinion on Mustangs? I worked with a woman whose New Edge was one of the two yellows, and she participated in a yellow Mustang message board. Most of the fighting was over “school bus orange-yellow” or a more “canary yellow” as the better color.

      I remember those CRX’s. Gorgeous, amazing cars.

  • avatar
    SearMizok

    I usually prefer the plain, regular paint. But, I usually get the mid to high trim-level, that requires the 3-layer-pearl paint.

    Why can’t I get the highest level trim, with the regular Red or White, not the Red-Pearl or the White-Pearl??

    The Pearl-three-layer paint costs more to buy, and costs more to fix if you end up needing any body work done.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That problem has more to do with assembly line efficiency than forcing you to accept a particular type of paint. If you’re willing to special order and wait for the exact preferences, you can probably get any combination the automaker offers. Ther will be an extra charge, though, and that’s after badgering the dealer, or switching to another dealer who will take your special order.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I brought home my wife a teal Starbucks reusable cup recently, and she commented on it “This is great, teal is so in right now!” I responded that of course I knew teal was so in, leaving out the fact that it was the only color they had on the shelf.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Every car I have purchased or leased for myself, ever, has been some shade of silver. I grew up with a poster of a silver 911 on my wall, I think that is what did it to me. So have the silver paint, just need the 911 now.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’d be curious to know about the intensity of these feelings between genders. My wife cares more about car color than I do.

    I’ll buy any color as long as it’s not super-bright (no yellow or Ferrari red cars for me); configuration is more important. But my wife will always have a strong color preference that’s more important than configuration (provided that the heated seats are there). Usually she dislikes grays and black, but her preferences depend on the particular car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Teal and gold were the best C4 Corvette colors.

    I also think gold was the best Cadillac ATS color:
    Images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/73933829.jpg

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Weird – my wife loves her yellow Mini.

    My brother has a teal Honda Fit – go figure. According to him, every time he sees someone else with a Teal colored fit, there is an old person behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    NetGenHoon

    That seems to be a low-resolution survey. I loved the Performance Blue of my Focus ST or the Rally Blue of an WRX. On the other hand, I hate the pastel blue of my Nissan Leaf and I’m neutral towards the blue on the current RAV4. I think the Mango Tango on the Jeep Cherokee looks great, but the Burnt Orange on most other cars makes me sad.

    Maybe more than a specific color, different people are drawn to different palettes.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    My wife will be quick to tell you that her Terrain is “Ebony Twilight” – not black. (eye roll)

    My next vehicle purchase will be new and danged if I’m going to settle for a color that is black, white, grey, or silver.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Good for you. Next you can refuse to settle for black, gray, or tan interior.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        lol… I’m in favor of contrasting colors. Light exterior, dark interior, dark exterior lighter interior.

        One thing I have found odd is that certain option packages are only available with certain color interiors. i.e. – GMC Canyon All Terrain demands that the interior be black. Why?

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I think the part about men preferring trucks against women’s SUVs and minvans is pretty telling. I’ll bet that most women don’t actually WANT a minivan, but get one to haul a family around. That alone makes the stats pretty worthless. To say that women prefer beige is silly since you can’t get a yellow minivan (unless you buy a used taxi).
    What I can see is that the Lulu Lemon wearing mummies where I live typically rock a white GMC; the lesser mummies have to settle for an Acadia, the alpha mommies get the Denali. For some reason, the Denali XL is NOT cool and would be viewed as gauche (indicative of work/usefulness or something–ain’t no plywood going in that thing!). Whatever the wheels are, it better be white to match their phone.
    Most men I know don’t really care about the color as several just end up with their wife’s hand-me-down cars. In fact, most don’t really care about their clothes, their hair or anything else that has to do with appearance.

  • avatar
    arach

    too bad there aren’t more cars with good colors!

    I LOVE Yellow. I have a yellow jeep. I’d buy a new one, but they don’t make yellow jeeps anymore :( (Maybe they should!)
    I REALLY want a yellow pickup truck, but I’m stuck with black because they don’t make yellow pickup trucks unless you want a bottom-of-the-barrel truck, none of the upper trims have good color selections. In fact I am seriously consider switching from a ford superduty to a nissan, JUST because of the color options of nissan, but even THERE you have to go down 3 levels just to get yellow.
    I LOVE my yellow sports car, and I think every sports car looks good in yellw.

    I’d also consider Orange or bright green. They don’t make a differentiation between bright green and old geiser green. Synergy green on the camaro looks AWESOME. Olive Green on a Porsche looks baaaaad.

    Anyway, I love any survey that 100% matches up with my opinion.

    yay yellow! Now I just wish more cars would come in COLORS.

    I would pay thousands more for a car in Yellow, Green, or Orange color, but my DDs are always stuck in black. No one makes a good looking car color anymore on large 4 door sedans except BMW, but they charge like 5 grand ON TOP of having to settle for a car I don’t like.

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    This article is obviously FAKE NEWS because according to what I see on dealer lots around here, cars are only available in paint colors of white, black, silver and gray, and only with a black interior.

    The giveaway to the fakeness of it all was the commentary on “teal”. I have not seen a new car painted teal on a lot here since about 1996.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Be thankful. I worked at a Dodge dealer in the early 90’s, and no one had told them Miami Vice was over.

      Our cars (Shadow, Spirit, Colt, etc.) were Green with gold stripes, Teal with pink stripes, or that awful combo of fridge white with pink and teal “sploosh” grafix (80’s spelling intentional).

      I should have known this was coming with the revival of the Solo cup design. It’s actually an interesting read: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247592

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      You’re describing dealer preferences for whatever will sell off the lot in the least amount of time. If dealers had their way, every car would be the same color inside and out, and they wouldn’t take special orders. They’d want to sell everything at MSRP too.

      The article specifically mentioned that dealer preferences predominate. The author just expanded on the limited number of people who doggedly search for a dealer who will take special orders and then choose from the maker’s options, which aren’t very numerous anyway.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I found this article via Bing. When I tried Google, it just said “Their preferences are identical. Next question.”

  • avatar
    Prado

    What new cars are available in Teal? I can’t think of anything since the 90’s

  • avatar
    zip89123

    There is no paint preference when I’m buying, because manufacturers sell what they want without asking what we want.

  • avatar
    ash78

    My general rule is “nothing white, black, silver, or champagne.”

    It actually makes life easier because suddenly 80% of the inventory disappears. I’m not super picky about color, but I at least want something semi-unique.

    Case in point: We were psyched to find a brown Honda Odyssey a couple years ago. Went and test drove it at night (winter…dark at 4pm), saw it under the dealership lights, nice and brown.

    Broad daylight? Just another shade of silver/gray like everyone else. D’oh.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I would add gold, copper, and maroon. None of the metallic colors hold up, and GM proved in the 1960s they can’t make a fade-resistent maroon. Nobody even makes maroon anymore, it’s now what you call a stupid person, not a color.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    This study is sexist trash. Google tells me that women are exactly the same as men except on all the characteristics they are superior to men.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Car colors we’ve owned (in order)…

    Me = tan, red, yellow, green, green (again), black, silver, orange
    Wife = black, red, blue, white, red

    We’ve owned a mix of sports cars, coupes, sedans, trucks and one SUV. However I will never again get black, white or any shade in between. Life is too short to drive grey scale vehicles. The least satisfying color we had was white. Waxing that car yielded nothing, it was still just white. On the flip side any dirt stuck out like a sore thumb. At least with black a nice shine gives you a mirror finish that looks good.

    I do wonder since many men are color blind and women aren’t I would be shocked to see any male preference towards red or green.

    And men favor convertibles by 33.5 percent? Really? That must be due many sports car being convertibles.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Men prefer trucks, yellow and orange?
    Yellow and orange aren’t current Ford pickup colours unless you are buying fleet. Chevy/GMC doesn’t have yellow or orange full-sized. The Colorado/Canyon comes in those colours. Ram has the most colour choices. Nissan has yellow trucks too.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    We just had this discussion at work the other day. The men wanted exciting colors and the women wanted black/white/shades of grey. And judging by what the companies offer on most cars, women’s tastes are driving the market.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    As far as I’m concerned, almost any color BUT Black, White, Grey, Silver or Gunmetal(Dark Grey).

    Trim color on my Ranger is teal and metallic brown, which I like. Would love to see an 80s style two tone on the truck with brown top and bottom with a broad teal stripe. The graphic I have currently applied would look even better in that teal stripe than it does on the stark white with colored “accent stripe” running just below the window nose to tail.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I too prefer something other than shades of gray. But I did go with white for my GTI because Florida, and that particular car simply looks right in white due to the red highlights. I almost got the gorgeous dark blue, but it is so dark it’s almost black, and this car sits at the airport in the FL sun for weeks at a time… Practicality had to rule. If RSW had reasonably priced covered parking I would have gone with the blue most likely. But with all the red GTI highlights, a lot of colors just don’t work.

    But count me as a guy who loves yellow, and green, and blue on cars. But teal? Dear God, please not the ’90s again!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I had enough greens, browns, and oranges during the 70’s. I like silver, pewter, champagne, pearl white, and ice blue metallic. I tend to keep my vehicles for at least 10 years and do not want to look at a dated color.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I tend to dislike all the “faded” colors like ‘champagne’ and ‘ice’ or ‘ice blue.’ I strongly prefer bold, earth, water and fire colors, which basically means any true pigment in the primary and secondary color wheel. Add black to darken them, yes… to a point. Add white to lighten them? Not so much.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    My wife wants a green car next. It’s her favourite colour. Fine, but she wants it on a late-Sixties convertible Camaro with the four-speed. That’s a problem.

  • avatar
    robc123

    Go to a dealers lot- black on black, white on black, gray on black interior. Boring. Or dark wood accents- lame (not walnut)

    I like the european style where its a 2 tone dash, top is black under is tan, seats/carpet are tan. don’t even get me started on 2 tone cars- love.

    as for yellow- what a great color- looks great on everything.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I love purple (both 90s style dark purple which is impossible to find now and Plum Crazy-style), green and blue, but only blue is actually possible to get on most cars. Ford’s Performance Blue is one of the best colours of recent times, but dark blue was the only actual colour other than brown available for the Mazda3 when I bought it so I went with silver, mostly because I had an urge for a silver car with black wheels, which always looks good. I also was coming from a dark blue xD so I didn’t want that colour again. My next car will almost definitely be one of those first three colours though in some way. Maybe I’ll keep the Mazda and paint it Performance Blue if I have an influx of disposable income.

    I mostly care about how the colour looks on that particular car more than the colour itself, and most males I know are like that.

    My girlfriend loves her Bohai Bay Mint Fiesta, never seen another one, and she wouldn’t even consider buying anything neutral coloured.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Men almost universally like my Hemi Orange Challenger’s color, with women it’s a love/hate thing. Seems like women over 50 and under 30 like it, most of the time, with the ones in between hate it. One of my coworker’s wives said, “I Like the car, but that color is just stupid!”. My next Challenger will be yellow, if it’s available, but I would really like to have it in Petty Blue with white stripes.


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