The Magic Formula For Colour Preferences Of Luxury Car Buyers – Strategy With RS

If you were manufacturing luxury cars what color of car would you manufacturer?
When Henry Ford was posed this question he is reported to have said that a customer can have any color painted on his car provided it is black.

Modern day luxury car manufacturer are not as rigid as Henry Ford.

They seem to have discovered the magic formula for color preferred by buyers by cogently observing them:

1. Classic Colors: 3 colors, collectively labeled as ‘classic’, seem to be perennial favorites among luxury car buyers. These colors seem to be imbued with ‘timelessness’. Together they account for more than 70% of luxury cars sold.

i. Silver grey (33%)
ii. Shades of white (30%) ranging from crystal, snow, powder cream
iii. Black & its shades (9%)

2. Large Buying Cycle: Buyers intuitively know that it is safer to opt for these classic colors because the buying cycle of a luxury car is between 5 – 8 years. If a buyer opts for a color of the ‘moment’; it will surely will gives way to anther color in a short duration of time – then she will be saddled with a color, which has gone out of fashion.

3. Active participation of Women in buying decision: It appears that men & women are working in consort while making a purchase decision & they have tacitly divided the role between themselves – men have taken the responsibility for making decision about engines & performance, while women take decision regarding the interior & exterior of the cars.

4. Familiarity with color: Buyers seem to prefer colors with which they are already familiar. Take the home – here most of the appliances / gadgets are likely to be of classic colors. Potential buyers become familiar with these ‘classic’ color. And this familiarity gets converted into preference when choosing the color of car to buy.

5. Resale value: The classic colors ensure that the resale value of the car does not fall drastically. This means if a buyer chooses a color other then from the classic collection, then chances are that they may not get good resale value.

6. State of economy: The state of the economy also affect the choice of color of car: For instances when an economy is under recessionary seize then the color of car which reflect the mood of buyers moves fast – grey

7. Geographical area where it is sold: Geographical area in which the car is sold also determines the choice of color. In West Asia bright colors are preferred.

Bottom Line: Be customer focused.




In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous Strategy with RS posts can be found here