White tops popular car colors

  • Article by: KIM ODE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 28, 2013 - 3:10 PM

The color of your car may not be a power window into your soul, but it's close.

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Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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White is the most popular car color — but people who drive white cars already knew that because, duh, they chose a white car.

Owners of white cars “are people who generally like things to be very pure and pristine and clear and direct,” according to color analyst Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute (the “color of the year” people). “There’s a degree of fastidiousness.”

That’s from research she did for Dupont about car colors, which jibes with theorizing by other tint analysts. (Yes, red means sexy. So?)

The number of North American new car buyers who chose white rose by 3 percent this year, to 21 percent, said PPG Industries, the largest supplier of transportation coatings. The jump broke white’s long tie with silver, whose fall from favor is linked to the waning economy.

Of course, we’re not talking about plain old white. Indeed, the challenge for carmakers is to differentiate their paint colors — a far cry from Henry Ford’s harrumph that customers could buy his Model T “in any color, so long as it’s black.” Consider:

From Toyota: Super White, Blizzard Pearl.

From Ford: Oxford White, White Platinum.

From General Motors: Arctic White, Heron White, Summit White, Ice White.

From Honda: White Orchid Pearl.

From Volkswagen: Alaska White, Onyx White, Pure White, Calla Lily White.

From Volvo: Ice White.

From BMW: Alpine White, Pepper White, Mineral White.

From Jaguar: Polaris White.

The pearl-ization of white is a trend, according to more Dupont research, which notes: “White pearl has three coats. Most colors have two coats, so it is a specialized process.”

Brings to mind how Spinal Tap’s guitar amplifiers were better because their knobs went to 11.

Still, when it comes to a power move, give credit to the folks at Porsche. Among their 17 colors that riff on such tones as Cognac, Basalt, Mahogany, Ruby and Meteor, they also offer: White. □

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