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BMW designer says Apple made white the most popular color for car buyers

post #1 of 60
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Apple's design influence is felt well beyond consumer electronics, as the iconic white iPod and earbuds sparked demand for white automobiles, according to a designer with carmaker BMW.

Sandy McGill, BMW Designworks' lead designer in color, materials and finish, attributed the popularity of white automobiles to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He said in an interview with Motoramic (via Fortune) that though white is a "high maintenance" color for cars, it has become the most popular exterior car color for American buyers.

"Prior to Apple, white was associated with things like refrigerators or the tiles in your bathroom," McGill told author Brett Berk. "Apple made white valuable."

The rise of white among automobiles has led the color to replace silver, which was the most popular exterior car color in America for nearly a decade.

Though white was the primary color for the iPod for years, Apple moved away from white for some time. Last year, Apple began offering the iPhone 4, iPad and iPod touch in white, signaling a comeback for the color in the company's product lineup, while all of Apple's iPod and iOS lineup have shipped with white headphones for years.

White iPhone 4


Leaked images have suggested that Apple's rumored "iPad mini," a smaller 7.85-inch version of its touchscreen tablet, will also be available in white when it launches later this year.
post #2 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's design influence is felt well beyond consumer electronics, as the iconic white iPod and earbuds sparked demand for white automobiles, according to a designer with carmaker BMW.
Sandy McGill, BMW Designworks' lead designer in color, materials and finish, attributed the popularity of white automobiles to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He said in an interview with Motoramic (via Fortune) that though white is a "high maintenance" color for cars, it has become the most popular exterior car color for American buyers.
"Prior to Apple, white was associated with things like refrigerators or the tiles in your bathroom," McGill told author Brett Berk. "Apple made white valuable."
The rise of white among automobiles has led the color to replace silver, which was the most popular exterior car color in America for nearly a decade.

I'm having a really hard time believing this. Why would Apple's use of white for a cell phone and tablet influence car buying decisions?
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post #3 of 60

White's also a nice color for cars since it saves energy in the summer, particularly with lighter interiors. I'll never have a black interior ever again after driving a white car with saddle interior. 

 
post #4 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I'm having a really hard time believing this. Why would Apple's use of white for a cell phone and tablet influence car buying decisions?

why wouldn't it?

post #5 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I'm having a really hard time believing this. Why would Apple's use of white for a cell phone and tablet influence car buying decisions?

 

It hasn't. White has been an extreme popular color for many, many years. Just more meaningless crap to fill web sites.

 

-kpluck

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post #6 of 60

Fucking Shit!! White is the cheapest model in BMW and that is the reason people unwillingly buy it.. A couple of grands saved can be used to buy some Apple gear..

post #7 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I'm having a really hard time believing this. Why would Apple's use of white for a cell phone and tablet influence car buying decisions?

 

It may, in terms of colour. 

 

Sometimes we carry over the feeling evoked by certain objects (say, an iPhone) and try to reproduce that feeling in other objects that surround us, or that we plan on owning. We make certain associations with certain colours. There are feelings and moods and thoughts "attached" to objects and their characteristics.  

post #8 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I'm having a really hard time believing this. Why would Apple's use of white for a cell phone and tablet influence car buying decisions?

 

I'm with you on this. It seems a bit of stretch without some type of supporting evidence. White has been a car color choice forever (I would never own a white vehicle) and other surveys say white isn't number 1 this year anyway, silver still is. Seems more like a coincidence as trends come and go with everything.

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post #9 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

white is a "high maintenance" color for cars

 

Really?  There's a reason white has long been the choice of many fleets: it's easy to keep clean, and it doesn't show the dents (you'd be amazed at the amount of body damage and hack repairs that can be hidden in white).  It's much lower maintenance than black.

 

Oh, not having your vehicle be a rolling oven in the summer is a nice side benefit. :)

post #10 of 60

White is also easier to keep clean, does not show swirl marks (like black), and when it *is* clean, it's gleaming. Really bright and beautiful in the sun. It also makes the car look bigger. 

post #11 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I'm having a really hard time believing this. Why would Apple's use of white for a cell phone and tablet influence car buying decisions?

It’s just one man’s theory, but not a bad one. Put the question it this way:

 

Why would a long-standing lineup of wildly popular personal items impact trends and styles? It happens.

 

Why would cars be affected by styles and trends? That happens too.

 

You may also be forgetting the original iMac, in translucent aqua (not my personal fav). Translucent aqua became popular for EVERYTHING from landline phones to vacuum cleaners to kitchen cutlery! One desktop computer truly impacted trends and styles in the larger world. Surely the iPod’s effect could have been even broader, if less garish!

 

(I think I’m glad that translucent cars weren’t practical.)

 

P.S. Re color maintenance: silver (and other light metallics) are MUCH easier to keep looking clean. Everything from road dust to dry mud to pollen to dirty road snow to bug specks will blend in a lot with the metallic effect. With white (or with a really dark color) your car looks dirty the instant any of those things touch it! Metallic champagne is probably the easiest color to keep clean. Now, for TOUCH-UP painting, metallics do not look good. A solid color (including white) has a benefit there. And for fleets, white works nicely with any branding/signage.


Edited by nagromme - 8/30/12 at 10:31am
post #12 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

 

It may, in terms of colour. 

 

Sometimes we carry over the feeling evoked by certain objects (say, an iPhone) and try to reproduce that feeling in other objects that surround us, or that we plan on owning. We make certain associations with certain colours. There are feelings and moods and thoughts "attached" to objects and their characteristics.  

 

Do you walk around in a white jumpsuit all day too to feel comfortable in your own skin? Get a grip.

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post #13 of 60

The tail wagging the dog. 

 

I think I read somewhere that overall Silver/Gray was the most popular choice of car - but I winder how much of that is due to lack of choice. If the car dealers only stock White, Black, Gray, and maybe one other color, be it a blue or green or yellow or red, and you choose Gray is it because that is the color you actually wanted or because it was only the best choice of the available colors? 

 

My most recent vehicle is a gray color only because they did not have the red I wanted in the model I wanted - and I did not want white or black - so gray was really the only option. 

post #14 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

 

Do you walk around in a white jumpsuit all day too to feel comfortable in your own skin? Get a grip.

 

It's psychology. Same reason many consumers prefer a "family" of matching products. Especially Apple gear. Uniform interfaces, even colours. We can develop an affinity for certain colours based on the moods they evoke. 

 

Futher reading:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_psychology

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1297510/?tool=pmcentrez

 

http://www.jgroshek.com/342/color%20and%20emotion.pdf

 

 

 

Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.   
- Pablo Picasso

Edited by Quadra 610 - 8/30/12 at 10:34am
post #15 of 60

I can buy that if you throw in the white lit Apple logo on everything. Apple has been buying a lot of product placement in movies, sitcoms, etc. Seriously, pay attention to every computer you see when watching TV - I'll bet close to 100% will be Apple products.

 

Throwing on my cynical hat, BMWs are owned by younger rich people. Younger rich people care more about style. Apple is the 'in' thing. The white Apple 'lit' logo looks cool - more than the white iPhone/iPad.

 

In my opinion, if anything is influencing a white preference, it's all the MBPs on TV and at the movies.

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post #16 of 60

White is one of the most boring colors for a car... right next to Toyota Camry Beige. One exception maybe is pearlescent white.

post #17 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

 

Do you walk around in a white jumpsuit all day too to feel comfortable in your own skin? Get a grip.

 Wow. You take a known psychological phenomenon, hypothesize a wild conclusion from it, and then tell someone else to get a grip?

 

It's a demonstrable fact that people in general let their emotional responses at least somewhat influence their purchasing decisions, just like everything else they do. have you never seen a commercial in your life? But if you like throwing hyperbole around, here's some for you:

 

Just because you are so clinically logical, never letting emotion affect you in the slightest, doesn't mean everyone else on the planet is as robotic and predictable as yourself. Have fun never enjoying life.*

 

*I don't actually think this is true about you. But then again, you don't actually think someone walks around in a white jumpsuit all day to feel comfortable in their own skin either.

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post #18 of 60

Well, my theory is that the colors people choose for cars often reflects their feelings towards the economy (or, their own personal economy?) as much as anything. That and perceived 'maintenance' or ease of maintaining a vehicles' appearance coming in a close second.  I drive a medium green car and I'm often amazed when sitting in my daily parking-lot of commuter traffic that sometimes I'm the only car that is actually a 'color' for as far as the eye can see - front and back.  As my daughter states; white, gray (silver) and black are just shades of gray, or more actually - points on a gray scale which is the absence of color, but I digress...  Maybe Apple is having some residual impact on vehicle color choices, but that seems a little more far fetched.  Maybe the real reason is that the people who are jamming a dealer for the lowest price are actually only being offered what's left over after those who wanted their desired color were willing to pay for that choice?
 

post #19 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

 

It's psychology. Same reason many consumers prefer a "family" of matching products. Especially Apple gear. Uniform interfaces, even colours. We can develop an affinity for certain colours based on the moods they evoke. 

 

 

I am fully aware of what and how it works and no study shows people pick car colors based on 1 or 2 gadgets with a white trim. In fact quite the opposite. Numerous studies show linking between that choice to your personality and something like 1/4 of car buyers end up just picking a similar color because the one they wanted wasn't on the lot. White has been a popular choice for decades. This guy is making a baseless opinion. Next you'll be telling me male births with the name Steven are on the rise because parents love their products so much. Nonsense. 

 

Also the last I read black still outsells white for iPhone and iPad anyway.

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post #20 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

I am fully aware of what and how it works and no study shows people pick car colors based on 1 or 2 gadgets with a white trim. In fact quite the opposite. Numerous studies show linking between that choice to your personality and something like 1/4 of car buyers end up just picking a similar color because the one they wanted wasn't on the lot. White has been a popular choice for decades. This guy is making a baseless opinion. Next you'll be telling me male births with the name Steven are on the rise because parents love their products so much. Nonsense. 

 

Also the last I read black still outsells white for iPhone and iPad anyway.

Agreed, sounds like this guy was just itching for a reason to link his products to Apple.

post #21 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberzombie View Post

Apple has been buying a lot of product placement in movies, sitcoms, etc. Seriously, pay attention to every computer you see when watching TV - I'll bet close to 100% will be Apple products.

 

Apple doesn't pay for product placement. There was an article written about it a while ago; how much free publicity Apple gets.

 

Apple's products are prominent in media because they are often the most used behind the scenes and they are nice to look at as well.

 

It's also funny how the good guys use Apple products and the bad guys use some off brand Wintel machine.

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post #22 of 60

I have noticed that white is more popular of late. It's why I bought a sky type blue color when I bought my Prius in June

post #23 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverpraxis View Post

It's a demonstrable fact that people in general let their emotional responses at least somewhat influence their purchasing decisions, just like everything else they do. 

 

Once again, I am aware of that, however the psychology of car color choice has been studied pretty extensively and the conclusions generally go in unrelated directions. I'm also not saying it *can't* happen for someone, but to draw that kind of conclusion without even a simple dealer survey leaves his opinion baseless, not to mention other surveys dispute his own claim to begin with that white hasn't overtaken silver. 

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post #24 of 60
Didn't he mean to say Dieter Rams. j/k
post #25 of 60
I still say cars ought to be matte. Instead of trying to stand out in the landscape, they should strive to harmonise and blend in, and there are few things in nature (or even in cities) that are highly reflective (water of course, but cars rarely travel on water).

(And yes, I realise that the glossy lacquer is less vulnerable.)
post #26 of 60

Knowing that BMW is a very serious car company and knowing that they don't leave any decisions to random chance in their business I think it is safe to say that even though McGill offered no proof, the statement he made is most likely backed by research on BMW's part.  I worked for a while with the BMW USA ad agency and that car company knows everything about their customers.  Huge amounts of research is done to know what they want and why.  Everything BMW did regarding advertising and branding was totally buttoned up and controlled - more than any other company I have had contact with.  Except maybe Apple - heh.

 

So if McGill says Apple had an influence on color preference, I'm thinking he's not lying.  Of course this kind of research is kept very secret so I doubt under any circumstances would they reveal how they came to such a conclusion.

post #27 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

White is one of the most boring colors for a car... right next to Toyota Camry Beige. One exception maybe is pearlescent white.

Really?

 

http://www.roogio.com/images/White-Lamborghini-Aventador-LP700-4-at-Geneva-right-side-view.jpg

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post #28 of 60

Oh yes, choose one of the most outrageously styled Italian supercars to make your point...

 

The most popular car in America in its most popular trim, the LE:

 

 

 

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post #29 of 60

I personally went the other direction: I got a tempest blue VW and now I'm matching other items with it (e.g. my iPad case).

 

I hate the concept that people pick colours based on moods or trends.  For as long as I can remember, I've always been attracted to mid-to-dark blues (light orange being a close second).  Regardless of what fashionista marketers are trying to convince everyone of.

 
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post #30 of 60

BULL.

 

White was already super popular for many cars. Lots of them due to historical racing colours. e.g. Japan - Honda: Championship white with a red interior.

 

BMWs have three "free" colour choices: White, black and red, all non-metallic.
 

post #31 of 60
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Originally Posted by OriginalG View Post

BMWs have three "free" colour choices: White, black and red, all non-metallic.

 

Probably all $450/month 3-Series lease specials ;)

post #32 of 60

BMWs with colours other than white and black cost an extra few hundreds.  I have a white BMW 1 series myself, but my preference was actually dark grey.

post #33 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

Oh yes, choose one of the most outrageously styled Italian supercars to make your point...

 

The most popular car in America in its most popular trim, the LE:

 

 

 

Should I call the Maytag man? lol.gif

Do you really believe that it is the color that makes this car boring?

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post #34 of 60

I have no intention of being disparaging about choices of employment and related skills attached to types of work, etc... but I strongly suspect those on this forum agreeing with the original proposition have the more "creative" jobs (artistically and design-wise) amongst us.
 

post #35 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post

I wouldn't have it in any other color. AFAIK alpine white has been the promotional color of the m3. Telling when BMW uses white to showoff their flagship car.

I completely agree.

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post #36 of 60

 

Actually, yeah, really. That car would look a lot better in red, black or yellow.

post #37 of 60

Can't say I get it, but I always favor the non-white version of Apple stuff. Like they say, once you go black (iPhone), you never go back. My own two cars are fire engine red and "Windveil Blue" which seemed a bit of a fluffy name for a muscle car color, but there it is.

 

So what drove the demand for silver cars prior to this? Titanium Powerbooks?

post #38 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I'm having a really hard time believing this. Why would Apple's use of white for a cell phone and tablet influence car buying decisions?

 

You mean you don't try to choose your car to match the color of your iPhone? Tsk tsk ...

post #39 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by TapitZac View Post

It's absolutely beautiful... could be a tinge lower though ;)

 

In response to the topic, I think white has become a look of "prestige" overall. Its clean, simple, and very modern looking (again in general). I think Apple appealed to this concept wen marketing their entire brand (not just the phone) and I think BMW is simply appealing to the same ideals...as are most companies as of late. The color itself is the influencer... Apple might've just been the first to utilize it on a large scale and others are simply catching up... just a thought... could be completely wrong haha


White as a color of prestige for consumer electronics makes sense because it was rare before the iPod (especially the true shade of white). On cars, white has been available for a long time and I am not sure it has quite the same status.

post #40 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post

Knowing that BMW is a very serious car company and knowing that they don't leave any decisions to random chance in their business ...

 

Historically and generally speaking, I agree. But I do remember the fiasco that was the rear spoiler that started on the 7-series almost 10 years ago. It looked glued on and caused quite the negative reaction. To their credit, they have blended it in better over the years but it sure looked random at first glance.

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