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Old 21st March 2019, 12:48   #1
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Default How do companies decide what colours to offer?

I was in the market for a new car and ended up booking the Nexon XZ+. A long discussion ensued between me and wife regarding the colour.
I liked the Blue she was stuck on Grey, no prizes to guess who won.
This got me thinking how do companies decide on the colour scheme for their cars. I sorely missed more choices for Nexon. Ecosport had better colour choices like the Brown and the Bright Red.

I am sure many of us would have been frustrated that our choice of colour is not even an option. Off lately Orange (all shades seems to be in flavor).

Do economics have a role to play or it's just someone in marketing dept. who decided the colours.
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Old 21st March 2019, 12:56   #2
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Default re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

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Originally Posted by aniyo View Post
I was in the market for a new car and ended up booking the Nexon XZ+. A long discussion ensued between me and wife regarding the colour.
No offence to personal color choices- but the funky design of the Nexon is best complemented withb righter colours, e.g. the blue or orange. In my view, grey on the Nexon doesn't look too good. Grey looks better on slightly more elegant designs, for instance sedans like the Honda City. Take a shot at convincing your better half once again on the blue colour, who knows- you might manage

All companies have the usual suite of safe colors, i.e. grey, white, silver, which are often the highest sellers. Apart from that, most of them have 2-3 youthful colours which they know will appeal to a younger audience. For instance, the Ecosport has the red and clue colours, which look great but don't sell as much as the whites, greys and silvers. Hence, its a mix of conservative sure shot sellers, and more adventurous lesser sellers.
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Old 21st March 2019, 15:15   #3
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Default re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

As far as I understand, manufacturers choose car paint job options based on various trends in the markets, architectural influences, pop-culture trends, etc. Here is a great article from Consumer Reports on the same: https://www.consumerreports.org/cons...so-boring-now/

And of course, you have manufacturers like BASF who do surveys and reports like these: https://auto.economictimes.indiatime...2018/67542821?
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Old 21st March 2019, 15:38   #4
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Default re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

If I were a car manufacturer, I would consider the following points as top 3-4 parameters to finalize the colors.

1. History of Success / failure car colors in the past(Past means recent past of max 4-5 years. The trend changes every 5 years)
2. Successful car colors of the competitors at CURRENT (I know they are patented. But, still I can play around with slight different shade in the same color)
3. Type of car and color that goes with the car. (For example: If it is a sports car, Red and yellow goes well with the car whereas, if it is a professional executive car, Metallic Grey, Real earth etc would fit in)
4. Look at the rarest color that is not released till now. Publish the color in magazines, see the response and will take some risk to allow that color to market based on response.
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Old 21st March 2019, 18:58   #5
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Default re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

I am assuming you mean apart from the standard colours - white, grey and silver. I am sure there is some sort of consulting and market assessment involved. However, there is copycat behaviour too. The current trend of using copper like orange colour is from the success of Grand i10. The blue of Ecosport may have inspired Nexon.

There is also the process of elimination - certain colours which will not fly - such as shocking yellow or bright red on an MPV. Green is almost never used in mass production cars. Even on so called ‘green cars’. The green of original Ford Figo failed miserably and after that no one dared to touch it.
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Old 21st March 2019, 22:19   #6
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Default re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

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Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
Green is almost never used in mass production cars. Even on so called Ďgreen carsí. The green of original Ford Figo failed miserably and after that no one dared to touch it.
Not so sure about that.

Maruti had different shades of Green on the Omni and the 800.

The Chevrolet Beat was launched in Green and was a successful shade as well. (I brought one!)

The erstwhile Daewoo Matiz and Hyundai Santro were available in darker shades of green as well.

Have seen them on Boleros and Gypsys too.
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Old 21st March 2019, 22:46   #7
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Default re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

Have noticed companies like Volkswagen use the color as a differenciator between model years. For example my 2013 Vento is Black. I think since 2015 they have not had a black shade. Similarly they had introduced a red color for a couple of years. Of course, could be specific to Volkswagen since they are recycling the same product for a decade now and hence color also becomes an element of the facelifts they do.

In general as mentioned earlier, some colors look good on some cars. A red Vento is kind of ok at best, but the same red on the Polo makes it look smashing. I am sure there is a whole team that sits and does this analysis. I assume they may hold back a popular color and bring it in may be as part of the first facelift when sales are starting to drop.
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Old 22nd March 2019, 23:12   #8
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Default re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

I believe design and shape of a car also determines the colour assigned to it. This is apart from standard white and grey. A yellow Tata Nano looks quite good, however not all cars will look good in yellow. An orange colour Ford Ecosport look good, but most sedans will look gaudy in it.
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Old 23rd March 2019, 07:31   #9
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Default Re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

Not sure if there's too much thought or research into this by the manufacturers as we would like to think. Most of them offer the regular and popular ones like white, black, silver and grey. As far as real colours are concerned, most have some shade of red or blue which are mostly sought after.

Then comes the unusual quirky colours where the manufacturers might experiment with. I see brownish colours becoming popular like the ones on Ciaz, i20 Active and Duster. Orange is the new favourite now with Baleno, new Elite i20, new Creta and Nexon. The XUV300 has a new colour called Aquamarine, even the Duster has a deep green shade. I've seen a Zen Estillo in our office with a horrible pink shade, but I don't remember Maruti Suzuki having that colour in any other of its models. So for these quirky colours, I am sure manufacturers would be looking at their own and other's experiments to see what the public responds to.
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Old 23rd March 2019, 08:20   #10
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Default Re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
Have noticed companies like Volkswagen use the color as a differenciator between model years. For example my 2013 Vento is Black. I think since 2015 they have not had a black shade. Similarly they had introduced a red color for a couple of years.
Volkswagen still offers the red(albeit on a special edition) on the Vento I think. It's just that it's even less popular in the facelift so hardly anyone buys it.

Cheers!
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Old 23rd March 2019, 09:24   #11
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Default Re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

Marketing research would the logical starting point but anyone who’s done an MBA knows that in effect that’s complete humbug. So you are back to “gut feel” and some strokes of genius when it comes to a new car’s pallete options.

So then you sometimes end up with inexplicable puzzles like why is the Harrier not available in black? On the other hand you could end up with the absolutely brilliant one-of-a-kind Urban Titanium shade on the Honda City.

It’s obviously not a science, and my guess is most companies are winging it.
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Old 27th March 2019, 16:22   #12
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Default Re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gkveda View Post
If I were a car manufacturer, I would consider the following points as top 3-4 parameters to finalize the colors.

1. History of Success / failure car colors in the past(Past means recent past of max 4-5 years. The trend changes every 5 years)
2. Successful car colors of the competitors at CURRENT (I know they are patented. But, still I can play around with slight different shade in the same color)
3. Type of car and color that goes with the car. (For example: If it is a sports car, Red and yellow goes well with the car whereas, if it is a professional executive car, Metallic Grey, Real earth etc would fit in)
4. Look at the rarest color that is not released till now. Publish the color in magazines, see the response and will take some risk to allow that color to market based on response.
Absolutely spot on gkveda! You have echoed my sentiments.
For example, take the Maruti Swift. Black was offered in the first generation model. But it did not have a large demand, forcing Maruti to discontinue it. And now we complain that Maruti has not offered a black Swift for this generation. Same goes to the other radical colours of the 2005 Swift.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
I am assuming you mean apart from the standard colours - white, grey and silver. I am sure there is some sort of consulting and market assessment involved. However, there is copycat behaviour too. The current trend of using copper like orange colour is from the success of Grand i10. The blue of Ecosport may have inspired Nexon.
True. Case in point= the Skoda Superb. The Rosso Brunello shade became very popular with it.
But I donít know what has stopped Skoda from not including it in the current Superb

I think the green Figo sold decently. The green Santro failed badly though. Iím not sure about the green Swift though. Result = no green cars (pun intended)
I have even seen a pink Outlander once! You heard me right, pink! Iím sure it was not a car wrap either. It was at Sankey tank the day I spotted it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arindambasu13 View Post
No offence to personal color choices- but the funky design of the Nexon is best complemented withb righter colours, e.g. the blue or orange. In my view, grey on the Nexon doesn't look too good. Grey looks better on slightly more elegant designs, for instance sedans like the Honda City. Take a shot at convincing your better half once again on the blue colour, who knows- you might manage
I agree. The funky colours along with the silver roof are one of the main reasons behind the Nexonís street presence.
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Old 28th March 2019, 15:12   #13
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Default Re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aniyo View Post
Do economics have a role to play or it's just someone in marketing dept. who decided the colours.
Interesting topic.

My take on the decision for choice of colors, by a manufacturer:-
  • Car buyer segment demographics - age group/gender etc.
  • Car brand/personality - sporty/executive etc.
  • Geography and Culture - If its India, lot of importance to White and Greyscale color
  • Current fashion trends
  • Any particular model differentiation

Last edited by JoshMachine : 28th March 2019 at 15:18.
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Old 28th March 2019, 15:39   #14
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Default Re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

Look into what colors they already offer on existing models, add 1 Halo color for launch and 1 more color to meet the segment specific taste. All the cars from a manufacturer go through same paint process hence they cannot offer totally different set of paint scheme for each model.
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Old 28th March 2019, 17:24   #15
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Default Re: How do companies decide what colours to offer?

Colour choice is totally a personal thing. For some its superstition and for some it's just choice. However certain cars look good mainly on certain colors. For example large SUV's look very good in black, however this is a tough colour to maintain. Another example is the navy blue colour of BMW which looks good on all BMW models but may not look good on smaller cars.

According to a survey in India, 43% of cars that were sold in 2018 were of white colour. This can easily be believed as every 3rd car that we see on the road seems to be white.

As mentioned before, colour of car is very personal and you should buy what you like.
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