With Henry Ford’s mass production approach of making cars having created thousands of similarly looking cars daily, individual identification became difficult unless you looked at the numberplate. However, there has been one element which has provide some degree of differentiation between cars of the same design – the colour.
Ford initially offered his Model T only in black, for economic as well as efficiency reasons, but generally, manufacturers have offered a choice of exterior body colours to provide variety for customers.
However, despite a great variety, buyers still tend to choose certain colours and according to a study by AkzoNobel, those in Southeast Asia prefer black, grey and white. The decorative paint and coatings company’s study also showed that 22% of respondents chose black as their favourite colour, with 21% and 19% choosing white and grey, respectively.
To the older generation, black may not be a ‘good’ colour but today, it is seen as representing ‘power’, ‘ambition’ and ‘wealth’. Luxury brands such as BMW and McLaren, which have AkzoNobel coating on their vehicles, often use black in their branding.
BMW uses them on some of their products and car parts, while McLaren chooses AkzoNobel’s automotive paint for all its production road cars. Often, special editions are also finished in black, one recent example being the anniversary edition of the Proton Saga.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is white. It goes without saying that cars tend to look good in white, a colour that is often associated with purity and cleanliness. On a more practical level, if you can recall from the science lessons during your primary school days, white surfaces are great heat and light reflectors. This means white cars don’t absorb as much heat from sunlight.
By extension, the inside of the car won’t become so hot after spending some time out in the open during a sunny day – certain something Malaysians would welcome.
The colour is also widely preferred as white cars are known to often have a high resale value. If the mileage is not too high and the condition is good, then a better asking price is possible!
Grey can be considered as a ‘diplomatic’ colour, a balance between black and white. Car owners driving grey cars are likely to be modest and humble individuals who are often happy to blend into the crowd. The colour is simple and easy to maintain and scratches are not as noticeable when compared to other coloured cars.
Although most people don’t realise it, automotive paint is quite a complex fluid. Years of R&D go into paint formulations to ensure that the colours remain outstanding long into the future. Companies like Sikkens – a brand under AkzoNobel – specialise in vehicle refinish systems that can offer protection comparable to the original paint finish a car comes with from the factory.