Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

What's in a Color/Make of a Car? A Lot

2010 Ford Taurus

For all the stories I do involving the auto industry, I'm always amazed at how many people will bring up how the auto makers pick the colors for future models and why some of those colors are popular in one part of the country, but not in another.

Hey, I get it. If purple looks weird on the streets of Miami, why wouldn't it look weird on the streets of Portland, Oregon.

So when Ford released its latest break down of the most popular colors and makes for different cities around the country, it contained a few eye-openers.

For example, the five most popular cities for the color brown are:

  • Boston
  • Minneapolis
  • Phoenix
  • Chicago
  • Pittsburgh

Meanwhile Red is tops in:

  • Cincinnati
  • Minneapolis
  • Detroit
  • Kansas City
  • Pittsburgh

Having once lived in the twin cities, and staying in touch with many friends in the cities, I brought up the fondness for brown and red cars. All of them laughed, and then a few admitted, "yeah, I've seen my fair share of red cars up here."

So what does it say about a city, or the people who live there, when they have a propensity to pick cars with a certain color? Why is Orlando the number #1 city for gold? Why do more people in San Francisco pick silver than in any other city? Some you can understand. For example, Phoenix is #1 for white, which is understandable given how hot it gets in the Valley of the Sun.

While Ford only gives a breakdown for 9 primary colors, It has me wondering what the demand is for other, more unique colors. Yes, I know Silver, Gray, and black will always be the main colors for car buyers. But don't kid yourself, there are still plenty of people who think lime green is the best color for a car.

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Questions?  Comments?