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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64


    Roundtagulars Assemble!

  • Reply 2 of 64
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    <vc><strong>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.</strong>
    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 <a href="http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/brown-turned-red-hot-color-cars-trucks-185920022.html">interview with</a> <em>Motoramic</em> (<a href="http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/08/30/apple-changed-the-color-of-cars-says-bmw-designer/">via</a> <em>Fortune</em>) 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?
  • Reply 3 of 64


    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. 


     
  • Reply 4 of 64

    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?

  • Reply 5 of 64
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member

    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

  • Reply 6 of 64


    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..

  • Reply 7 of 64
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member

    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.  

  • Reply 8 of 64

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 64

    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. :)

  • Reply 10 of 64
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member


    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. 

  • Reply 11 of 64
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    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.

  • Reply 12 of 64

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 64
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member


    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. 


     
  • Reply 14 of 64
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member

    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 and emotion.pdf


     


     


     


    Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.   


    - Pablo Picasso
  • Reply 15 of 64


    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.

  • Reply 16 of 64
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,540member


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

  • Reply 17 of 64

    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.

  • Reply 18 of 64


    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?

     

  • Reply 19 of 64

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 64
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,540member

    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.

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