• Apr 1, 2011
Ford has released a study it conducted across Europe to determine which of its colors are most popular in each country. The results reveal that white, black and silver remain the most popular colors, edging out the company's bolder hues.

It turns out people in Turkey choose white Fords more than any other color. Danes dig black, Swedes go for orange and blue takes the cake for people in the Czech Republic. Ford found that its popular color choices tend to buck stereotypes - the Irish choose silver more than any other shade, despite the national identity with green.

Ford's marketing people are using the color study to determine how to stock dealerships in certain countries to move the most cars. The study also gives a glimpse into changing trends – according to Ford, earth tones like browns and coppers are making a comeback after years in the doldrums.

To see which colors are popular in which countries, click past the jump.

[Source: Ford | Image: Jeremy Korzeniewski/AOL]
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Ford Data Reveals Europe's Car Colour Tastes: France and Italy Favour Cream Colours, Denmark Likes Black, Ireland Opts for Silver

* A new Ford of Europe's study of vehicle colour preferences by nation reveals some surprising national preferences
* In Turkey, nearly half of new Ford buyers choose white, far more than any other nation. In Denmark, black is top. Swedes choose orange more often than any other nation. In the Czech Republic, blue is all the rage
* Despite a greater choice of vibrant colours, white, silver and black finishes remain the top three paint picks for Ford customers across Europe

Vibrant colours Squeeze and Hot Magenta have sold very well on Ford Fiesta models across Europe, meaning brighter hues will be offered in Ford's palette in the future.

COLOGNE, Germany, Mar. 29, 2011 – It's perhaps no surprise that France and Italy are fond of cream-coloured cars given their famous café cultures. But why do buyers in the Czech Republic favour blue far more than any other nation? And the Irish may be traditionally associated with green, but they much prefer driving silver.

These are but a few of the findings of a study by Ford that looked at car colour preferences by nation across Europe. Understanding preferences across the multicultural continent helps Ford stay in step with customers and stock the right vehicles in dealer showrooms.

"There is something very personal to buyers about the colour of their cars, and when you look a little deeper you see that the culture, fashion and tastes in the markets across Europe have a major impact of the colours that customers choose," says Julie Francis, who is on the colour and material design team for Ford of Europe.

Colour trends – like fashion – change year to year. For example, a small but growing number of buyers are choosing brown, copper and other earth tones. "It took people a little while to warm up to the brown hues; they had previously been perceived as 'old fashioned' – think 70s, 80s," says Francis. "But the brown tones are making a comeback in fashion, interior furniture, and now automotive, and have been revived with exciting interior to exterior combinations."

White remains the runaway hit in Turkey (49% of vehicles sold), overwhelmingly the number one choice of Ford vehicle colour. Turkey, with its often sweltering climate, also picked the lowest percentage of black vehicles. Denmark, by contrast, chose black as their top finish and were least likely to opt for white.

But geographical borders and climate do not always determine the colour tastes of car buyers. Norway and Portugal, for example, share the same six favourite colours.

Only one country has a number one colour other than black, white or silver – the Czech Republic. One quarter of Czech buyers choose blue Fords in 2010. Czech buyers also choose the highest percentage of red among all nations – mirroring the dominant red and blue colours in the Czech flag.

But patriotism only goes so far. The Netherlands didn't even figure when it came to orange vehicles, while the Irish were the third least likely country to buy green.

So how does Ford use this data to make sure it offers the right colours in the right countries?

"For major markets, Germany, for example, we know that blacks and darker colours are always popular so we factor that in to our planning," says Vince Shaw, marketing and product strategy manager for Ford of Europe. "Clearly we want our vehicles to be attractive to our customers and colour is a big part of that. In fact, one of the success stories has been Hot Magenta and Squeeze – bright red and green – offered on the Fiesta. They have both sold extremely well, so it's clear that our customers are keen to have something more individual. We've learnt from that and in the future will offer more unique colours not found on the usual palette."

There is also evidence that vehicle colour trends are just as prevalent as trends in other fashion markets.

"Red used to be by far and away the most popular colour, but then that was supplanted," explains Shaw. "It looks like white is in the ascendancy now. Dark greys, blacks and blues are always popular, as they are in men or women's clothing, but just like any other fashion the different car colours come in and out of fashion."

It's therefore important to notice trends and react to them quickly when it comes to vehicle design.

"Identifying rising trends and selecting signature colours are a big part of what we do, and we know how important it is to get the right colour into the market at the right time," Francis adds. "Too early and it won't have registered on the customers' radar, too late and the popularity of a particular colour will have already reached its peak,"

And with 2011 seeing the launch of the all-new Ford Focus, boasting striking colours like Candy Yellow, Candy Red and Mars Red, or the stunning Tangerine Scream previewed on the Focus ST model at the Paris Motor Show, this year may well see some hot new colour trends emerge throughout Europe.

Earthy tones, such as Lunar Sky, are coming back into fashion across Europe

Top Five Countries in Each Colour (by percentage of Ford vehicles sold in 2010)

BLACK BLUE BROWN
1. Denmark (37.8) Finland (1.4%)
2. Norway (31.6) Norway (1.3%)
3. Portugal (26.7) Belgium (1.2%)
4. Germany (26.6) Poland (0.9%)
5. Russia (24.9) Hungary (0.9%)

CREAM GREEN GREY
1. France (4.1) Belgium (20.8%)
2. Italy (1.2) Italy (17.6%)
3. Greece (0.8) Portugal (16.7%)
4. Netherlands(0.6) France (16.4%)
5. Hungary (0.5) Netherlands (16.4%)

ORANGE RED SILVER
1. Sweden (0.8) Ireland (37%)
2. Romania (0.6) Romania (30.2%)
3. Hungary (0.4) Finland (29.4%)
4. Austria (0.3) Poland (28.8%)
5. Poland (0.28) Sweden (28.3%)

WHITE
1. Turkey (49%)
2. Hungary (32.2%)
3. Switzerland (31.3%)
4. Spain (28.8%)
5. France (27.5%)

Global Colour Popularity in 2010

A major paint supplier, Du Pont produces an annual overview of colour trends from around the world, and it reveals some more interesting trends for different regions. According to its figures Europe's top colours are blacks and greys, while Asian countries opt primarily for white and silver hues. South America is also a fan of silver while North America's top picks are the contrasting colours of black and white. Globally, silver was the most popular choice with 26) and blue (5 of Du Pont's 2010 sales, with intermediate size vehicles and MPVs in Europe being the biggest takers of this colour range.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Most of my cars have been green, silver, yellow, silver, silver, silver, white. Why so many "grayscale" cars? Well, I really dig red cars. However, more often than not, finding one with three pedals instead of two means being less picky about color.

      I've wondered from time to time if manuals tend to be produced in colors with the most mass-market appeal because of either concerns about being able to push a niche color with a niche drivetrain, or if it's just because the vast majority of cars are in mass-market colors, and filtering the market for a niche drivetrain means that the one or two examples available in your area are most likely to be silver.

      In the case of my car ('11 Scion tC), I'm on Cars.com looking at a 500 mile radius of here (which includes both the SF Bay area and LA), I see:


      Black(66)
      Blue(33)
      Brown(1)
      Gray(122)
      Purple(8)
      Red(26)
      Silver(178)
      White(103)
      Other(239)

      Looking at just Manual Transmissions, there are

      Black(4)
      Blue(4)
      Brown(1)
      Gray(8)
      Purple(1)
      Red(1)
      Silver(15)
      White(9)
      Other(16)

      I suppose it makes sense that when I bought, all I could find within 50 miles were one White (which I purchased) and one Silver up in Santa Cruz.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Props to the Swedes for buying the least boring color!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hmm.. the catfish mouth is very well stifled when the car is black. I didn't think it looked horrible or anything, but the low contrast helps it out tremendously.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yay for grey scale I guess. Seriously people, white, black, grey, silver - the most boring colors you can get on a car. It doesn't help that people who actually buy non grey scale colors get openly mocked

      "Hey, look at this guy, he just wants attention in his Orange car"

      Oh well, I will continue driving 500+ miles to the nearest dealership that offers the car I want in a non-grey scale color. Somebody has to make the effort to try to break this trend of mediocracy.

      [/end rant]
        • 3 Years Ago
        Well, there's at least two of us. I've owned nearly a dozen cars, and only the first one was a monochrome. The problem is, people are afraid of color, and perhaps, rightfully so. Green in particular is tricky. If you find a nice shade of green, then alter it ever so slightly, it quickly turns into something really awful. How many of us have white or off-white walls at home, or monchrome appliances, or computers, cameras, music players, phones? A lot of us even have a relatively monchrome wardrobe. Color is scary. It's easy to get it wrong. You can't screw up monochrome. It goes with everything. Then there's that self deception that black is hip, trendy, cool.

        C'mon people! Be bold! Make a statement! Use COLOR!
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problem with these surveys is that car companies frequently don't offer colors that people really want, and so you buy the one you like the best, not the one you really want. How is that a trend? I have never seen a DuPont survey asking car buyers what color they want that isn't offered today.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love how you began an article about European countries with the only country that is not considered European by Europeans...

      I'm going to get so many negative votes for simply *stating* how we Europeans see it. It won't change how we see Turkey.

      The point is that Turkey is a large Asian country, it's not comparable with European countries in terms of culture, family sizes, climate, economy or demographics. Kurdistan is far from Berlin...
        • 3 Years Ago
        I was with you right up to when you wrote: Kurdistan is far from Berlin.
        Doesn't Germany have a large Turkish minority?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, the results presented in what I can only assume is a tabular format at the end of the press release, are nearly impossible to read and really seems of marginal value. I am thinking that the top 3 colours by country would be more insightful rather than the top 5 countries by colour...

      just my opinion...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fascinating.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Oh I know! I just can't wait for my next issue of Paint Weekly!

        Do you subscribe too?
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