Colour, colour, what colour do you choose?

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla | Updated on: Mar 14, 2019

Cars are being splashed with new colours to woo buyers

Changing from their traditional navy-and-white colour scheme to sky blue and white for 2019, British Formula 1 motor racing team Williams Grand Prix Engineering is eager to make a statement.

It has picked its new livery and donned new colours to reflect a more modern status for its brand. Replacing the famous Martini stripes that adorned Williams’ cars from 2014 was a big decision, with the company looking to unveil an altogether new chapter with fresh colours.

The brand has gone through a lot of transformation and is eager to present itself as next-gen, with a strong future in sports. Incidentally, on Wednesday, Tata Communications said it has expanded its presence in Formula 1 by becoming a digital partner of Williams Racing.

The Williams team is to use Tata Communications’ digital infrastructure to enable real-time data transfer between the pit-lane garage at each Grand Prix and the team’s race factory in the UK.

Eager to show the world the fresh, revitalised brand, Williams has used the F1, termed by the company as the shop window to the world, to showcase its bright livery.

Not just F1, a car’s ensemble is of prime importance for consumers. Given that the personality of the vehicle is as important as that of the consumer, it is not just style, design and branding that is influencing purchase decisions.

Colour choices are now an integral part, with smart consumers expecting their car colours to show their attitude and prove to be more than a feast for the eyes. The stakes are high for auto-makers to offer compelling hues.

Though a luxury sedan is more popular in black and white, a small and sporty version is associated with fiery red and colourful shades. Or even dual tones, as has been incorporated by Nissan.

“Traditionally, India’s warm climatic conditions have made white and grey, the most heat-reflecting colours, and also the most popular. However, the SUV segment is definitely influenced by the spirit of adventure. We are seeing black and dual-tone colours in demand,” says Hardeep Singh Brar, Director, Sales and Commercial, Nissan India.

The company recently launched the Nissan Kicks in 11 colours. “While we have included the pearl white and blade silver, we also took into consideration customers who seek to stand out, by offering them dual-tone combinations,” says Brar.

Luxury, on the other hand, is all about serene white. Or is it? Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO at Mercedes-Benz India says though white remains the most preferred colour for a Merc sold in India, the company has been increasingly introducing other sporty colours in the portfolio.

“Vibrant colours like green, red and yellow have been introduced in our portfolio both in the Mercedes and AMG range. We also keep consumers intrigued by introducing bright hints of orange and red,” says Schwenk.

Apart from white, black and silver are the other popular traditional choices of colours, notes the CEO. “However, we have witnessed that Indian customers are now increasingly preferring more vivid colours like hyacinth red or cavensite blue,” he adds.

Mercedes has also started introducing some attractive colours like the Magno Green in the AMG GT R, the sunset yellow in the AMG GT S or the Hyacinth Red in the current Edition C-Class.

Steffen Knapp, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars maintains that the automobile industry is witnessing a dramatic change. “With evolving customer preferences, the purchase of a car reflects his/her personality, achievement and aspirations,” he says.

A customer interested in the Polo GT carlines prefers a red-hot hatch while herein for a more premium category car like the Volkswagen Passat or Tiguan, customers prefer achromatic colours (white, silver, black, grey).

A report by chemical major BASF’s Coatings division states white is the most popular colour in India, with 43 per cent of new cars produced in white. In the growing SUV segment, many new cars are white, followed in popularity by silver and grey. Around 12 per cent of new SUVs are red, which is the biggest share of red compared to all other segments, says the report.

In the basic and sub-compact segment, white is the most popular colour followed by silver and grey. Bright colours are prominent in these segments, while the share of black cars is comparably small. The most popular chromatic colours for compact cars are red, blue and orange, and for sub-compact cars it is brown.

Published on March 14, 2019
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